"There's no problems, only solutions"

Got “Working Class Hero - The Definite Lennon” in the mail today and playing it while making lunch I heard this line in Watching the Wheels: “There’s no problem, only solutions”, and it sent upleasant shivers across my back.

Of course I associate that sentence to corporate bs. Now, I’m sure that wasn’t Lennons thought, and hence I ask:

“There’s no problem, only solutions”, was it actually John Lennon who came up with that statement (or made popular), but then had it hijacked by the corporate jargong from Hades many of us live with today?

Give Cheese A Chance.

I think the canonical corporate bs phrase is “there’s no such thing as problems, only challenges”. The definitive reply is that NASA didn’t call a space shuttle “Problemer”.

I have had, though, a supreme corporate bullshitter boss tell me, when I broke the news to him that a project was failing because of lack of resources “don’t come to me with problems, come to me with solutions”. My reply was that I wasn’t in a position to increase resources, so how could I come to him with a solution? I didn’t last long in that job.

Why do you think it was original with Lennon? It’s probably far older and something he heard at some point.

Admittedly, the bad grammar does sound like John. :slight_smile:

Or, as we chemists like to say, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate.”

Which was a joke on “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” which was such a standard 60s phrase that you can see it on a button.

I’ve used the “don’t come to me with problems, come to me with solutions” phrase quite a bit as a manager to empower employees to solve problems themselves when I know full well they have the brains and resources to do so.

I’ve had my share of lazy employees who any time they ran up against a roadblock would immediately come to dump the problem in my lap thinking “I’m not paid to think or figure things out when there’s a problem, that’s the managers job.”
But then I had a lot who knew what to do in a situation but just needed to run it by me. “Hey boss, I ran up against problem A, I’m thinking the best way to handle it is solution X, what do you think?”

Ironic as it may appear, I think you’ll find obvious similarities in the phrasiology of today’s corporate motivational messages and the punchy sloganeering of the early 20th century Socialist, Communist, Anarchist and labor movements.

I suspect that John Lennon took his cues from the latter, not the former. [smiley here.]

You obviously overlooked the subtitle of his greatest work, Imagine (A New Paradigm In Non-Theistic Borderless Utopian Lifestyle Provision):stuck_out_tongue:

The recently released, excellently researched, Yale Book of Quotations by Fred Shapiro cites it from 1968 by Eldridge Cleaver. I think this popularized it.

Fred found it as early as 1961, in slightly different form. If it predates 1961, so far no one has found it.

And that’s just a less blunt way of saying “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.”

No, absolutely not. It was directed at those people who loved to complain but who never did anything about anything. If it means anything else, it means, get off your backside and help us.

It could be perverted into what you say, but that’s still a perversion of the original meaning.