Saturday, December 22, 2012

How Not to Freak Out 401: Work the Problem


This could be the hardest part, but often the solution to your situation has an easy answer. 

From lesson #3, you are drunk and another drunk person just offered you a ride home. After stopping and taking a breath you have to make a choice. Go with the drunk person, take a taxi, call your parents or friends, walk home, sleep at the house where you are... There are multiple options. Personally, I would pick the option with the least risk. Of course, more often than not I would probably volunteer to be the designated driver anyway.

In Pakistan on Broad Peak I was often the first person in team two to head down the mountain. At least three times I was the first person in our group to head down the mountain. While I love spending time high in the high mountains, it is continually a risk being up there and it is much more safe to sit around at basecamp. 

If you are headed the wrong way down a one way street, stop, check for an alley or driveway, check to see how far you are from the next intersection, check for possible parallel parking, check for other cars, put your flashers on, and appreciate a honk rather than an accident.

I can’t give you a solution to the problems that you will face. Sometimes the situations that might be encouraging you to freak out are because of relationships, and I certainly don’t have many answers in that department. 

When working a problem something that often comes up is that you need more information to formulate a solution. Perhaps that only requires a glance around, perhaps it involves asking a question. Keep in mind that you are probably not qualified to address every situation you encounter with the knowledge and experience you have today. In other words, don’t try to go climb Mt. Everest without giving some shorter mountains a try first. Don’t get behind the wheel of a car without some personal instruction. Training and experience are key to problem solving. 

Unfortunately, a difficulty you are likely to encounter in your problem solving is that the times where problem solving is the most critical skill, it is often far more difficult that sitting here in front of your computer screen. Problem solving when drunk is nearly a lost cause. Problem solving when you are the first person at a soon-to-be-remembered-as-deadly motorcycle accident could be tough with all that blood. Working a problem at 23,000 feet of elevation is difficult because it is hard enough to walk on your own let alone help someone else walk. This goes back to lesson two, actions have consequences and it is worth considering those before you are in an impaired state.

Congratulations and thank you for reading these four articles. To summarize everything that you learned, you will die and your actions can have consequences which may in fact be death. Once you get into a situation: stop and work the problem. Now you might as well say you have a B.S. in Risk Management.

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