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Bob McMillanAn Opinion

By Bob McMillan
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Having an Impact and Solving Problems

All of us, in our lives, have challenges to solve and also want to have an impact on those challenges so we are not overcome. It can be a challenge at work or even at home. Sometimes we can get help and, other times we are forced to deal with the challenge alone.

Approaching the challenge can, in – and – of itself, require a major effort. All of this leads me to the wagon wheel – yes – the wagon wheel.

Here is the question, and then I will explain why I am using the wagon wheel. My first question is when a wagon wheel is on the ground ready to support the wagon – what spoke in the wheel exerts the most pressure on the hub of the wheel? Most people answer that question by saying the spoke closest to the ground is the one.

If you think about it, that makes a great deal of sense. The spoke closest to the ground would appear to apply the most pressure. But that is not really the case.

Actually, the pressure from the ground is circulated around the rim of the wheel and equal pressure is applied to each spoke from the rim and directed to the wheel’s hub. That is just one of the laws of physics.

And what has all of this to do with meeting challenges in our lives? Well, first, sometimes the obvious approach to a challenge is not always the best way to go. There are often, in our lives, multiple ways to go in solving or having an impact on a challenge. With multiple solutions, sometimes it is difficult to chart the best course.

One way to deal with the multiple ways to go is to be sure to think through each approach, keeping in mind that the one closest to the ground or the most obvious is not always the best solution.

Another dimension to this column is what I call “multiple paths.” Using the wheel with spokes analogy, sometimes it is better to use more than one spoke or path to meeting a challenge. I feel that using multiple paths or spokes can get you to an objective even if one of the spokes or paths no longer works.

One of my sayings is that it is always better to be on multiple paths in life so that if one path comes to a dead end, life can still go forward. If you are depending on one spoke or one path, the termination of the approach can mean that you have to start all over again.

From time to time, I have used a wagon wheel at the start of various lectures. It is an attention mark with several people in the audience being unaware of one simple law of physics which can truly be applied to life in general.

Thank you for reading.

Robert McMillan Website: