Our world today would seem magical to our ancestors. Our needs are met almost immediately, we have clean water at the turn of a knob, heat at the push of a button, and light with the flip of a switch. Food is purchased in a box, ready to heat, and a person can prepare a meal in under 6 minutes using the microwave oven that's a fixture in most modern kitchens.
Our world is clean, convenient, and loaded with abundant resources, things that took significant time and effort to produce in days gone by. And all of these resources are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We don't even have to go out and get the resources if we live in a town of much size – Uber and Instacart will bring your conveniences right to your door.
But all of this convenience comes at a high price, one we don't even realize exists until a situation arises in which the ready answers aren't there, the food is not available, and the dial on the thermostat no longer has any effect at all.
Modern life destroys survival instinct. Most folks just buy the answers to all of their problems and they have lost the ability to think. Self-reliance is an act of epic rebellion against the status quo.
Quick solutions reduce problem-solving ability
In the midst of a challenge a few years back, I discovered I was out of oregano.
Normally, I'd hop in the car and go to the grocery store. I'd buy some oregano, some other interesting things that caught my eye and grab a coffee on the way home to fight that mid-afternoon crash.
But, since I'm participating in the Once-a-Month Shopping Challenge, running to the store was not an option, and wouldn't be for 3 more weeks. Since the tomatoes I was processing wouldn't last that long, I had to think about solutions – real solutions that did not involve running to the store. (I substituted thyme and basil, by the way.)
This got me thinking about how we usually solve problems in this day and age.
We go to the store. We order a new whatever from Amazon and it arrives at our door the next day. If our central heat goes out, we plug in a space heater and huddle beside it until the repair guy arrives. When he does get there, he replaces parts instead of taking them apart and fixing them.
What does this mean?
It means that the solution to nearly every problem that occurs can be purchased. Almost anything we feel that we need can be purchased, often within 30 minutes of the thought popping into our heads.
The ability to solve problems is nearly extinct
We need to get out of this replacement-based instant-gratification mindset. Because sometimes, you can't buy your way out of a problem. Sometimes you have to fix things yourself, come up with substitutes, and solve your own problems.