Today I went to go replace a headlight in our Suburu Forester. After watching a video online to get a quick overview, I confidently thought it would only take a few minutes. Pop the hood and easily see the bulb. First question enters my mind as there is no cover on this bulb and there was a cover in the video. Maybe our cover fell off somewhere. It rotated as expected and the bulb came out. It didn’t look broken, but it must be since it was out. I unplugged it and carefully unpacked the new bulb, but when I tried to push it in, but the new bulb didn’t fit. Dang it, the auto parts store sold me the wrong bulb. I wonder if I even know where the receipt is to return it. Deep in this thought, I started comparing the bulbs and the one I pulled out didn’t look like the new bulb, but the new bulb DID look like the one they showed on the video, so either they built multiple kinds of headlight assemblies for our year of Forester or this was not the bulb I was looking for.
This was not the bulb I was looking for. I went back in and saw the cover over the burned out bulb, I disassembled it and the bulb looked fried. The new one fit perfectly, and went back in as expected. I turned on the lights and it worked. Great! Now I just need to pop this cover back over the bulb. Hmmm, why doesn’t this cover fit. I spent the next three minutes trying to put the cover over the wrong bulb (with no cover) before finally realizing yet again, this is not the bulb I was looking for. Once I tried putting the cover in the right place, it went on easily.
Sometimes we get so focused in on how we are solving a problem that as new issues arise, we dig deeper instead of taking a moment to observe the forest and see if we made a mistake earlier in the process that is making this harder than it should be. Often it’s easier to blame our problems on other circumstances or people (like the auto parts salesman) than realize maybe we’re the ones who made the mistake. When we find ourselves stuck trying to solve a problem that shouldn’t be this hard, maybe it’s time to pause and see the forest for the trees.