So often in life, we get stuck in a cycle of reaction. We tackle the most urgent tasks. We deal with emergencies. We put out fires. 

We intuitively know we’d be better off if we figured out a way to be more proactive rather than reactive, thereby preventing fires from starting in the first place, but we can’t seem to switch our approach.

My guest today explores why that is and what we can do to start solving the problems of business, life, and society before they become problems. 

His name is Dan Heath and today we talk about his latest book, Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen. We begin our conversation discussing the issues that keep us from nipping problems in the bud, including problem blindness, lack of ownership, and “tunneling.” Along the way Dan shares insights into how to overcome those roadblocks. We then shift gears and explore how to find the best upstream solutions to problems, which requires getting as close as possible to the problem, while also being able to survey the system it’s embedded in from a bird’s eye view. Dan explains the principles at play with plenty of real-life examples of how these tactics were used to effectively tackle big, seemingly intractable social problems.

Lots of great insights that you can apply to solving problems in your personal life, business, and community.

If reading this in an email, click the title of the post to listen to the show.

Show Highlights

  • Why are we more drawn to the reactive moments of life?
  • Why it actually feels nice to solve downstream problems 
  • What is “problem blindness”?
  • How to stop tunneling on specific problems 
  • The recurring conflicts that couples run into and solving those problems upstream
  • Why we adapt to problems rather than solve them
  • Taking ownership for problems that aren’t “yours” 
  • Bringing groups together to solve large-scale problems 
  • How do you change systems and bureaucracies? 
  • Getting close to problems 
  • Measuring success with solving problems that don’t happen
  • How data can lead us astray 
  • Understanding the ripple effects of our interventions 
  • Selling your ideas about solving problems upstream 

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

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The post Podcast #591: Solve Problems Before They Become Problems appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

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