I remember when recycling first gained momentum in the Air Force. I was an instructor at the time and the recycling bin was in the break room. The students (and instructors) would have their sodas in the classroom and then be expected to drop the empty can in the break room bin. However, I can’t even count how many times the can or bottle ended up in the classroom trash can each day. Supervision made threats, instructors were to inspect the can at the end of the day, and students were made to go class-to-class to sort through the trash.

The problem wasn’t resistance to recycling. Not lack of concern for the environment. The problem was human nature. It was “easier” to toss it in the trash. When we added a small bin (next to the trash can) in each room, the problem went away overnight. Yes, this is a very trivial illustration, but it does illustrate the workplace. Everyday we are focusing too much time and effort on a problem with a simple solution. Look for those pain points in your day and try to figure out what the actual problem is and find a way to resolve it. Imagine working on one small problem every week and how you could make the world around you better.

Don’t step over problems and don’t let them dictate your day. Solve them.

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