Solution vs. Engagement

It’s funny that I’m now kind of hooked to this whole topic of engagement, and this might be just a temporal selective perception issue, but as long as it lasts, it seems sensible to make use of it to get a different perspective on our lives.

Today, a friend called out for help on formatting his Master Thesis, and I thought this would be an easy-to-fix issue, so I posted a link to a tutorial on the web. As it turns out, it didn’t fix his problem. So I asked him to send his document, and because it took a little longer, I tried to replicate the issue on my computer, and got back to him after 10 minutes with a solution which worked, and we were both happy. (His file came in 20 mins later. Praise email.)

The important point is, not only was he happy that his problem was solved, but also that someone had spend their time to make this happen. If he had searched a little more, I’m sure he’d have found a solution on the web himself, or he’d have gotten some more links from people who’d have cared a little. But in the end, the value is the personal interaction. We often tend to forget that solutions (as well as problems) don’t exist by themselves — they’re being created by real people. And the value lies in the creation process, not in its outcome.

That’s why a solution is never as valuable as the engagement that led to it.


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