Seeing Problems in a New Way
By Michael Angier
I've recently had a major shift in the way I view problems. I used to see
them as impediments in the path of accomplishment. Now, I see them as
opportunities to get better-chances to be unique in the marketplace.
Perhaps I finally realized what Father Alfred D'Souza had when he wrote,
"For a long time it has seemed to me that life was about to begin; Real
life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be got through
first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or debt to be paid.
Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my
I've been calling problems "challenges: for twenty years trying to put a
different spin on them. I knew that some of my biggest problems created some of
the best changes in my life. But I didn't always recognize that while they were
occurring. Now (at least most of the time) I'm able to look at problems with a
more just a positive attitude.
The fact is we're all going to experience problems. They're inevitable, and
they'll keep coming as long as we remain on the planet. How we perceive these
problems is CRITICAL to our success. If we view them as something to tolerate,
something to just get through, we won't gain much from them.
However, if we embrace them and look for the good they can provide for us, we
can make great progress. Otherwise they will impede us. It's all in the way we
Jim Rohn says, "Don't ask for things to get better, ask that YOU get
better." Good advice. Ultimately, it's our challenges; it's our overcomings
that shape our character and make us into better people.
One of the ways to help us gain a better perspective is to think of our
problems as if we were a well-paid consultant. We wouldn't be as invested. We
wouldn't be as irritated. We would actually be glad there was a problem because
if there weren't, there would be no work for us.
Make sure you understand the problem. Charles Kettering said that a problem
clearly stated is a problem half-solved.
In practicing this exercise, you will have more objectivity and be more
creative in solving the issue at hand. If you approach problems as puzzles to be
solved rather than disagreeable chores, you'll have more fun. Seeing our
problems as challenges shifts our attitude from coping to conquest.
And remember, EVERY problem has a solution-usually many solutions.
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