Problems are a daily part of our life. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what station of life: you will always have problems. Age is no exception and neither is wealth. Even though this is true across board, most of us have unhealthy associations with problems.
For as far as I can remember, I have always had a relationship with dealing with problems that I struggle to change. Most of us, myself included, tend to have a negative association with problems, in how we perceive them.
We tend to think of problems as something undesirable and that we should not have them. Far from it, problems will always be there. We sometimes think that once we make that tonne of money, then our problems will evaporate, or once we find that perfect companion, our problems will be a thing of the past.
What you will quickly realise with this kind of thinking, is that as you set each goalpost for the things that need to happen, for your problems to be eliminated. One thing is for certain, you will find more problems once you get to the goalpost.
So, what is the solution to the problems we have? Since problems will always be a part of our existence, what can we do to deal with them more effectively? I propose that we change our perspective, to try and identify the opportunities that are always there amidst our problems.
Simply: what is required is a change of perspective. A change in how we see problems. Doing this is simple enough, but is in no way easy. The first step in changing our relationship with problems is to understand their true nature.
When we experience any sort of problem, we suffer because of how we see the problem. If we want to start a business for example, but have no capital, we become despondent and are unable to move forward.
That is where the issue is right there: we become despondent. Instead of panicking when faced with a problem, wouldn’t it be better to change the way you perceive it?
Instead of looking at the problem as the end, look at it as a challenge that is a stepping stone to what could be possibly better circumstances. There is something remarkable about changing the wording of problems, that helps us perceive them in a more positive light.
Labelling the problem as a challenge, shifts our psychological perception of it. By nature, challenges demand more of us. They spur us forward, and make us give more of ourselves. Challenges demand that we give our best, and what’s more important, they give us hope for better future possibilities.
In my experience, there are always opportunities within all problems. The challenge lies in our ability to identify such opportunities. Have you ever had a problem, and later looking back, seeing that there is something you could have done but didn’t?
The opportunities are always there, but a change of perspective is necessary in order to identify them. We need to stop looking at problems as “problems” and instead perceive them as opportunities. And as I have already mentioned, we also need to avoid playing the blame game.
One approach is to ask ourselves questions that help us see the situation better. An exercise in asking ourselves questions gets us into gear to gain more clarity and identify opportunities within the problem. An example of questions to ask oneself could be something like “who else can I consult?” or “what other avenues have I overlooked?”.
Everything discussed in this blog post is useless, if we do not take the most important step which is to act. We need to take action whenever we are faced with a problem, as soon as we have identified an opportunity. The activity of taking action will build our momentum in moving forward.
Do not make the mistake of waiting for the perfect opportunity to act. An opportunity is an opportunity, and once you discover one, you will discover more along the way. Start attacking the problem as soon as possible in order to discover even more opportunities within the problem.
Another critical factor to change our perception of problems is having the capacity to take responsibility for what happens, even when it is not our fault. At times, the conditions we find ourselves in may not be our fault, but we must take responsibility regardless.
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