Where my friend sees a refrigerator, I see clutter, decaying produce, fluctuating temperatures, excessive noise, a cracked shelf, smudges — and that’s just one appliance in the kitchen. I have a tendency to see what’s broken within my surroundings. I do enjoy problem-solving but oftentimes my problem-identification process is in overdrive. But of course, if everything appears broken, the world will seem like it’s falling apart.
Where my friend sees a pleasant outing in the park, I see the potential for rain, the potential for too much sun, lack of toilets, traffic issues, food issues — and that’s before we even get in the car. I have a tendency to be overly cautious. I do enjoy planning and preparing but oftentimes my contingency-identification process is in overdrive. But of course, if everything seems as if it can go wrong, the world will appear like a hectic hellhole.
Where my friend sees a complaining worrywart, I see a vigilant guardian of well-functioning systems — and that’s just one of my duties. I have a tendency to be idealistic. I do enjoy pointing out potential issues but oftentimes my pronouncement process is in overdrive. But of course, if I announce every problem I perceive, it will be annoying to those around me.
Upon inspection, I can see that the world is not a hectic hellhole in which everything’s falling apart. This means my problem-identification process is too sensitive. It’s not the world itself that requires fixing, but my own perception of the world that needs adjustment. I can’t fix or plan for every problem or contingency, therefore an overly-sensitive system is not useful. Not only is it not useful, but by broadcasting every minor issue, it drowns out higher priority items and becomes a nuisance to others.
To tune an overly-sensitive system: I must readjust my sights to focus on what is working rather than what isn’t. I must monitor my identification process and reject unwarranted concern. I must resist the impulse to indiscriminately describe imperfections. Instead of drowning in problems, I can concentrate on the few I prefer. Instead of cautious inhibition, I can do what I please. Instead of irritating, I can be insightful.