The problem is...

The problem is "X".

It doesn't matter what "X" really is. It doesn't matter what the problem is, either. It's a formula you'll see all over the place when you start looking more carefully. You'll see it in relationship advice, in business advice, in debates over social and economic problems. The whole genesis of the problem gets boiled down to a specific cause. "X".

That's interesting enough, but there's more. When you get two different people, with two different values of "X", talking to each other... well, sparks fly. Each will produce evidence and supporting logic. To an outside observer, it quickly becomes clear that they're not just saying "The problem is X". What they're really saying is:

The problem is only my version of "X"."

I've seen [1] so many meetings, debates, and just plain arguments where nobody was able to say:

The problem is" X" and "Y".

Too frequently, it gets to the point where everyone argues whether X or Y is "right" - even though they might both be - and nobody actually addresses the problem at hand.

The next time you get caught in this, why don't you try making it go away?

Be the person who says "and".

Then we can actually start to focus on the problem.

[1] And when you think about it, you may have as well