For as long as you’re alive on this planet, for as long as you’re active in the workplace, for as long as you have parental or relationship responsibilities, you will encounter problems – difficult situations that cause you to have to face them in order to overcome them. That’s not a good or a bad thing. It’s just reality.
How we view those problems, however, and how we deal with them will determine what we become and what we achieve as we journey through life.
Another “softer” way to describe problems is to call them “challenges”. Whichever word we use is immaterial. Facing the challenges/problems and finding ways to solve them will build character and determine our relevance and significance in life.
1. Problems provide opportunities for us.
If you’ve been seeing problems as a negative feature in your life, I want to urge you to reframe that view. Without encountering problems, the human race would simply never have advanced. It’s in wrestling with a particular problem that we find solutions that improve our quality of life and/or prospects for the future.
Take a look at the problems you’re encountering right now. Ask yourself what opportunities they contain – for learning, for growth, for reflection, for change, for improvement and so forth. Once you’ve identified the opportunity, why not take your courage in both hands and start solving the problem.
2. Problems contain messages for us.
Very few people understand that life communicates with us through our problems. A person who is unhappy in a difficult relationship may not realise that life is telling him or her that this is not the right relationship for them. If you’re in a job that you’re not enjoying and is full of problems that you really don’t enjoy solving, maybe life is telling you that you’re in the wrong job.
Start listening to what your problems are telling you about your life, your relationships, your career and the decisions you have been making, and you’ll start to hear messages that you had previously not heard before. When you start to hear those messages, take note and respond appropriately.
3. The size of problems you can solve determines your value in the world.
While every human being is valuable and precious, people who can only solve small problems are not as sought after as people who can solve big problems.
If you’re wanting to build a successful career, look for big problems to solve. The bigger the problem you can solve, the more valuable your services will become. That’s why problems have created billionaires out of people who have found ways to solve those problems.
So, next time you encounter a problem, don’t shy away from it, and don’t complain about how unfair it is. Instead, ask yourself what opportunity the problem is presenting to you or ask yourself what hidden message the problem is sending you. If the problem is big, all the better. Don’t shy away from it. Tackle it head on. It is providing you with an opportunity to show everyone exactly what you can do.
Who knows? The very next problem you encounter could be the one that takes you to new levels of expertise and rewards.
And the more problems you solve, the more in demand you will become, giving you an opportunity to find success and significance.
Alan Hosking is the publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net, @HRFuturemag, and a professional speaker. He assists executives to prevent, reverse and delay ageing, and achieve self-mastery so that they can live and lead with greatness.