The Daily Stoic for June 9th: “Solve Problems Early”.
“There is no vice which lacks a defense, none that at the outset isn’t modest and easily intervened—but after this the trouble spreads widely. If you allow it to get started you won’t be able to control when it stops. Every emotion is at first weak. Later it rouses itself and gathers strength as it moves along—it’s easier to slow it down than to supplant it.”
—SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 106.2b–3a
Yesterday we were having dinner with some friends and fellow e-Residents. At one point, the conversation focused on families and, more concretely, family arguments. On how easily members of a family -father and sons, or brothers and sisters- can spend years without talking to each other because of a quarrel none of them can remember.
I stayed silent thinking how that was true in my own family. While my direct family (parents, sister, grandma…) keeps a close relationship, on the big family picture we have this two irreconcilable sides. We never get together for Christmas or special occasions. And yet nobody can even remember why.
I was a child when this relationship started to fall apart, and all I can recall is that it all happened after my grandpa died. Hence, I am clueless of the whys and hows… and the people I have asked can’t remember either.
Solve Problems Early
That’s a small example of why problems should be solved early. Because, as Seneca describes, events are easily forgotten with time. Conversely, emotions start like a little stream but grow over the years until they become an ocean.
It’s easy to jump through a small stream and reach the other side. However, when the argument or affront that originated it has long fallen into oblivion, there’s no way of crossing the ocean to get to the person on the other side of the continent.
So I completely agree with today’s stoic excerpt. It can be applied to your family, your relationship, your friends, your job, everything… solve problems early, when it’s easy to do so.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Solve Problems Early”, discusses how we should solve problems early, when the reasons or causes are clear, and the flow of emotions is just a little stream, not a gigantic ocean to cross.