Are You Mistakenly Treating Symptoms, Not Causes?

Aug 27, 2020


A Question You Must Ask Yourself

Whenever creating an action plan to address a problem, one question you must ask yourself is, “Am I treating the cause or the symptom?” You will not believe how clear the answer will be, how it can lead you to a deeper understanding of the issues and provide increased effectiveness for the long run. Here is a list of examples…


Example #1

Marital fights about money are common. Trying to solve them with a better budget, earning more, or any other array of symptom treating does not work. A counselor who helped our wealth management firm deal with client issues beyond the money told me, “Charlie, fights about the money are never about the money. They are about control, fear, power, things that happened earlier in life, conflicting values, and more.” Judi taught me that these causal issues need to be addressed to stop the fights.


Example #2

There is homelessness in every city. Donald Miller of StoryBrand recently interviewed Dan Heath, who thinks in terms of causes. Listen Here.

Starting at about minute 6:30, listen for a story about how one mayor and city worked unsuccessfully for nine years trying to solve their homeless problem. When they changed their approach and focused on causes and a new blend of approaches, the homeless problem was gone in nine months.


Example #3

Your marketing plan is not working. You have a great service or product, proven to be effective, and a new and easier way to consume it. It helps so many types of people, and you keep changing things like your ads, upgrading your website, giving more and more free content, etc.

The cause that needs treatment is that you do not know who your ideal client is – a marketing 101 mistake. The description of the ideal client defines everything about your company: marketing, service & product design, operations, the people you hire and develop, sales process, etc.



There are many issues we could select for what is going on in our world and our lives right now. Pick one today and ask yourself if your solution(s) are treating symptoms or causes. When you think you have dug deeply enough to a treatable cause, ask the question one more time to make sure there is not a cause to what you think is a cause. Then, you are ready to design a treatment plan that focuses on the causes and not the symptoms. You will be so much more effective and fulfilled in life when you see the results.

Charlie Haines

Many Christians are frustrated in their jobs or struggling with choosing the right college major. At Unstatus Your Quo®, we provide Career Assessments and Coaching to help Christians discover and work in their most fulfilling career.