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Mode Selection 101

Picture: of wooden sign with accept or reject. Turning wrenches is about entering a perpetual state of what I like to call “solution mode.” As human beings, not just mechanics, we are on one of two modes: “problem mode” or “solution mode.”

You are almost finished swapping transmissions. You just put in a full shift, maybe a shift and a half swapping them. Everything seemed to go so well…

Something can’t be right. There must be a hitch. There’s always a hitch.

As you go to slide the transmission over the output shaft and begin lining up the bell housing bolts, you realize the transmission needs to slide on just an extra inch. How do you respond?

Do you start the bolts and “walk” the transmission into place?

I wouldn’t.

Why?

Short answer….You are asking for problems.

Because if you are thinking about the problem, you are asking for a problem. It’s the law of attraction.

Turning wrenches is about entering a perpetual state of what I like to call “solution mode.” As human beings, not just mechanics, we are on one of two modes: “problem mode” or “solution mode.”

If one were to think that just putting the bell housing bolts in and drawing the bell housing onto the flywheel housing is going to solve the problem of the transmission not being fully seated, one would be overlooking the real problem…therefore creating more problems.

The problem is not that the transmission isn’t fully seated, it’s that something is causing the transmission to not be fully seated. That could be any number of things. I am not here to tell you what those things could be, because there are so many things it could be that to tell you the solution, in this case, is making more problems for you.

The goal here is to help achieve that highly desirable “solution mode.” One must acknowledge that the “problem” is never usually the “problem.”

“Gee, thanks for that incredibly vague and overly generalized statement!”

“You are very welcome.”

See, I know that if you are trying to solve a specific problem, you can already find that solution on the Internet. But if you are still looking on the Internet to find a viable solution to your problem, your mind is still in problem mode.

In order to change that, we must know that properly identifying the problem is the first step towards solution mode. After the REAL problem is identified, only then can we find a REAL solution.

Before going at your problems “gung ho,” ask yourself, “Is the problem I am looking at the actual problem I am trying to solve?” This requires a keen sense of perspective. It means being able to look at the problem from an “eagles eye” vantage point…to think outside the box as they say.

A lot of the REAL problems you are going to encounter as a diesel mechanic are problems that you can’t see with your eyes. You have to be able to see your problems with your mind and only then can you put yourself in solution mode.

There are always going to be those bolts that are just out of reach or that electrical problem that just doesn’t make any sense. When you find yourself in those situations ask yourself “Am I looking at this with my eyes in problem mode? Or am I looking at this with my mind in solution mode?”

Every problem has a solution, which is good for you. Because that means if you have a problem, there is a solution. It is up to you to define what that problem actually is so you can identify the proper course of action from here-out.

By the way, I would wiggle that transmission… Wiggle it good.

Author: Sean Klongerbo, “The Diesel Doctor”