I walked to the plaza next door to get my favorite smoothie, Peanut Butter and Banana. As I approached the door to the shop, I was having second thoughts. I knew that this particular shop made all of their smoothies with soy, an ingredient I try to stay away from (soy raises estrogen levels – not a good thing for a guy). But I still wanted my smoothie.

Two doors down, there’s another shop that sells smoothies. I get a lunch bowl there from time to time (they have a wonderful one with shredded carrots, purple cabbage, green curry sauce) and I knew they have smoothies, but I had never tried one. I asked the girl if she wouldn’t mind putting a scoop of peanut butter in their banana smoothie, and ended up getting a smoothie that, while not quite the PB&B I was used to, was a tasty and more hormonally sound alternative. And distinctly peanut butter-y.

I got to thinking about how this applies in a bigger-picture way. Many times, I’ll be facing a problem and not know the solution. The problem may be a biproduct of something that gives me value (as in the case of the delicious smoothie with the estrogen-raising soy). I might even put up with the value-giving thing (smoothie), because it’s working for me, even though the problem (soy) isn’t. But one day, I decide that the problem isn’t worth the value I’m getting, and I need a solution.

Funny enough, the solution can actually be right next door – and I just, for some reason, wasn’t seeing it. The minute I realized soy was going to be a problem, I could have hopped next door and got something just as good or better without the problem. But I didn’t think to do that, until today.

Why?

I wish I knew. But I do know that this is a common phenomenon. Many of us wrestle with problems, but don’t see the solutions that are right in front of our faces. Maybe this is a rude but useful reminder that we’re Human, after all. Or maybe there’s a more convenient lesson here.

Maybe it’s safe to start looking next door for a solution. Obviously, there are no guarantees. But how much time – and, in my case, testosterone – could we save if we were more open to the possibility that the answer could be waiting for us if we just… turned our heads?

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