S:0930 Distinction: Solved vs. Cleared Up

(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)


Have you ever read a detective novel or watched a cop show? In them you’ve seen the lead detective wrap up the case with a flourish.

If he or she is playing the role of a less-than- sympathetic character, the case is merely cleared up. That means all they did was handle it enough to get it off their desk. As readers/ viewers we don’t really like that because it’s not a satisfying conclusion. Something’s off.

If, on the other hand, the detective is playing a star role, he or she will solve the case. That means it comes to a completion, not just shuffled along. We like completions. We like seeing things wrapped up with little remaining unsolved. Solved feels good.

Cleared up feels…I don’t know…wanting? If not the result of actual sleazy behavior by a corner- cutting functionary, a case merely cleared up is not satisfying. We know better work could have been done.

Like the fictional detectives, you and I perform every day with the same two options.

Cleared up may be finished for the moment, but solved is complete.

Solved. Ahhh… Big smiles all around. The End. Roll the credits.


Coaching Point: When do you do complete work? How’s that feel?


Copyright 2013 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.