Ok then let’s

William Liao
2 min readMay 25, 2024

I tried implementing a solution to a problem at work yesterday and it didn’t work.

There are a couple paths you can take when things like this happen:

  1. You can lament about it.
  2. You can figure out what to do about it.

I think many would agree that focusing on figuring out what to do will help you move forward faster…

But, it also wouldn’t be terribly surprising to find many people (myself included) opting to express frustration over the solution not working first. After all, to feel frustrated about a solution not working as intended on a problem you care about is a completely understandable, human response.

Lately, I’ve found the phrase “okay then let’s…” to be helpful in these situations.

It is one part acknowledgement and acceptance when you say “okay” — it doesn’t see your frustration as something in direct opposition with progress, but fully accepts it as a valid response.

The other part is forward looking when you say “then let’s” — it invites you to fill in the blank by considering how you might find another way forward.

When we’re obsessed with progress, we sometimes end up policing behaviors that seem counter productive — like feeling frustrated. The irony of this is that it almost always produces more frustration in the end, making even more challenging to make progress.

Instead of going this route, focus on acknowledging and accepting how you think and feel about challenging situations. You may be surprised by not just how effective this is at clearing the path forward, but also by how much better and whole you feel.



William Liao

Taiwanese American, daily blogger of ideas about impactful work in service of others, photographer (ephemera.photography)