Sweet Problems

It’s been awhile since we’ve had a Toastmasters chapter at the ol’ j-o-b.
Now we’re all recharted and back in the speaking game!
Submitted below for your consideration is a reconfiguring of remarks I recently shared with our club.


I’m going to share a personal matter, and since we’re all friends, I feel safe and comfortable in making this heartfelt confession.

I have a sweet tooth.

A sweet tooth particularly for candy.

If you read the health reports, you’ll see that ‘they’ – whoever ‘they’ are – say that too much candy is not good for you. And, in some cases, ‘they’ are right. But this presents one of those opportunities when we can turn a negative into a positive.

This is why I would argue that there is at least one case where candy – particularly hard candy – can be very good for you – and it’s not just to freshen your breath!

I’m a pretty happy go lucky guy. I’m blessed and fortunate not to have too many issues in my life, but every once in a while, I have problems. And when I do, I think about hard candy.

But I don’t want you to think this is a speech about candy.

It is a speech about problem solving. It’s a method you won’t find chronicled in the Harvard Business review, and I don’t believe they’re teaching it to the MBAs at Georgia Tech, but it’s a way of thinking that works for me, and perhaps you may find some value in this approach and direct it toward any problems you might encounter in your lives.

I find that the best way to handle problems is to treat them like hard candy.

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We all know there are two tried and true ways to consume hard candy.

One, you can hold it in your mouth and eventually it will slowly melt away.

Think about some of the problems you’ve had – whether they be business or personal – they are like pieces of hard candy.

Those problems appear hard, they appear impenetrable. But if you are patient, those problems – like pieces of candy will slowly melt away.

Second, there is a more aggressive approach.

You can take a piece of candy and crunch down on it hard and in a few seconds, it’s gone.

This is also a very effective way to take care of your problems. Bite down hard and chew them up as quickly as you can.

A variation on this theme is how we used to consume Charms Blow Pops as kids. We either slowly worked our way down to the gum, or we didn’t waste time and just crunched away at the hard shell and got right to the gum.

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I always liked to take my time and work my way down to the gum.

It says a lot about our personality – are we slow and methodical or do we hurry up and get to the gum?

There’s no right or wrong. It’s all about what works best for you. It really depends on the situation, there are those times when we need to move quickly and there are those times when taking our time and working things out slowly is the best approach.

Of course at a future date, we can talk about an entirely different class of problems.

Those are the problems we may encounter that are like Jujyfruits. We chew, and chew, and chew before they eventually go away.

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And let us not forget those worst-case scenario problems – the ones that are like gum on the bottom of your shoe – they just stick with us until we literally have to scrape them away.

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Of course, I’m having a little fun – comparing candy to problems. But in all seriousness, when we encounter problems in our life, solving them tends to take two distinct forms – we can take our time and work to solve them slowly – or we can bite down hard on them and work them out quickly.

Whichever way works for you, just go for it. Again, there are no rights or wrongs. My only wish for you dear friends is that all of your problems are sweet ones.

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