The popular adage that goes “the first step to solving a problem is to realize that there is one” is key to recognize in life even if it involves admitting an inconvenient truth. A lot of personal and professional issues that are unaddressed or dealt with will not go away and will need to be handled. In most cases, the problem or issue will metastasize and becomes even more difficult to resolve. On top of that, you’ll often need more manpower, resources, or funds to solve the growing problem when it could have been tackled days, weeks, months, or years ago.
I truly believe that knowing a problem exists and refusing to solve it or letting it fester is worse than when a person is unaware that there is a problem to deal with in the first place. Pleading ignorance when you know the truth but lie to yourself and to other affected problem will lead to a lot of stress and turmoil in the long run. There are numerous ways to describe this kind of mentality but to me, it’s about someone or a group of people knowing that a situation is unsustainable or untenable and refusing to fix it even when it would be the right thing to do.
Acting or admitting fault or an error is never easy but doing so is the first step in actively solving the problem instead of letting it continue. Standing by and not admitting what’s going on is not right or not sustainable will put you on a collision course with a rough ending in most cases. This kind of mentality of “knowing but not caring” can erode trust, relationships, and even ruin people’s lives if it is allowed to go on. In this case, knowledge of a problem and not acting to resolve it can cause a lot of damage in various areas of life. To make this ‘knowing and not caring’ examples of hypothetical professional or personal situations where this kind of attitude would lead to negative consequences, let me discuss two instances where ‘knowing and not acting’ can lead to regrettable events:
Let’s say that someone worked hard to be trained as a lifeguard and was paid to do so by the local city by the beach for the summer season. Many people were trained, funds were spent, and chairs / stations were built. The foundation is strong so that people’s lives can be saved if something bad were to happen and each of the lifeguards were trained in CPR and other first aid tactics in case it is necessary.
Not only are the lifeguards trained in first aid, but they also need to pass swimming tests to qualify for the city’s public beaches as employees. However, since the city’s budget is running a deficit because of improper management and cost overruns, the city council must decide where to cut funding to balance the budget. The folks in charge of the budget knew that the deficit would cause problems when they projected in in the previous years, but nothing was done about it.
As a result, costs need to be cut by the city so difficult decisions will need to be met. The city needs to keep schools open for some students to receive summer school and must pay the public-school teachers to do so. They also can’t reduce the police or firefighter budget given that the summer season tends to be the busiest for them and they also are guaranteed pensions that are negotiated by the unions.
Sadly, the only way to start to balance the budget is to cut recreational programs including the lifeguards at the beach even after they did the training, and the city spent the money to train them for these jobs. Other recreational programs will need to be cut along with reducing hours for access to public parks and sports courts. Most regrettably, the city council will have to cut access to the public beaches there because they don’t want to take the risk of having liabilities involved of having its citizens swim without lifeguards present. It causes a lot of anger, disappointment with the city’s residents as well as students who were looking forward to swimming, playing on the beach, and seeing friends but since the city can’t afford lifeguards, the public beaches will have to be closed the whole summer season.
While many individuals or one individual in city government would be responsible for seeing where the budget deficit would start to harm the city’s services, but because no one looked hard at how to prevent the deficit from affecting the public recreational programs or saw that cuts would need to be made in a year or two years’ time in other less important areas, the problem was unaddressed. It’s about knowing the problem exists in this case, but doing little or nothing, or ‘passing the buck’ onto someone else in the city’s government rather than working in advance to fixing this issue before people’s lives were affected.
Another potential issue is that it is difficult to keep watch over public beaches 24 hours, 7 days a week. Chances are increasingly high then for an accident to happen where college or high school kids come to the beach even when it’s closed or limited to swim or have a bonfire. Because of their anger, they may end up swimming in defiance or doing something that could put themselves in harm’s way. Not only will the city not have lifeguards there to prevent that from happening, but it’s possible that the city will be blamed or liable for any possible accident or issue with people using the beach illegally because they did not balance the budget in advance.
A potential tragic loss of a life, an accident, or the loss of trust in the city’s government are all regrettable consequences that could be avoided if a group of people or person(s) would do something about the problem when they knew of it rather than letting it grow out of control later. While this is a fictional instance, this kind of regrettable story or event happens a lot in our world and the issue at hand could often be avoided with due diligence, foresight, and good work.
More generally, regarding possible examples of this kind of ‘knowing and not caring’ regarding someone’s personal relations, I believe this could apply to situations when it comes to family members or close friends not helping someone out when they know their beloved family member or friend is going through a tough time. They may know of a problem that person has like an addiction to gambling, drugs, alcohol, or other substances, and believe that only they can help them rather than taking them to a licensed professional or a doctor.
This can also be applied when that person’s addiction is harming their relationships, is getting worse, and tends to cost that personal financially, morally, and in other ways. If the family member(s) or friend(s) don’t address their beloved one’s problems head on and let them continue, that affected person in a personal situation will be more likely to hit ‘rock bottom’ and may not be able to be saved from themselves. When that person is not reigned in and told that they have that problem the family member or friend knows about, then they are doing a real disservice by not helping them get better actively. Letting the addiction or mental health problem continue even when that other person in the relationship or friendship knows it must not go on but won’t take action to resolve it, then that’s a prime example of where ‘knowing and not caring’ enough to solve the problem can really backfire.
Sadly, in most cases, the friend or family member affected may suffer even more from the problem not being fixed or aided by the significant other. They can lose themselves fully to the addiction, end up losing their job, their home, or even their life as a result. Part of being a friend or a family member is to be there when that person needs you the most. They don’t want you to sugar coat things and sometimes, you must give them the ‘tough love’ by telling them the absolute truth and letting them know that they have a problem, but that they are not beyond saving, and that you can go ahead and help them get better. That is the mark of a true friendship and relationship when you know about the other person but also care enough to help them be and get better if necessary.
The world can be a messy and complicated place but the concept of knowing when a problem exists in your personal or professional life and not doing anything about it and trying to find a solution to it is disheartening to me when it does happen. It does happen a lot in life, and I hope that you will be different to act on the problem rather than letting it fester. You may change someone’s life or people’s lives for the better when you know about the problem and address it so the solution can improve lives and make the world a better place through your actions to find solutions rather than let the problems you know about to multiply and grow.