We have a problem. 

We all have problems. We all want to be rid of our problems. But problems are unavoidable. Big or small, you will always encounter problems. Problems will always exist and there is absolutely nothing we can do to live a problem free life. 

This is the problem.

One of the biggest problems we as a race are facing right now, is that we are trying so damn hard to hide from, avoid and run away from every problem (or potential yet to happen problem) we possibly can in order to try and live this perfect, problem free existence. But it is impossible. Not only is it impossible, we are doing ourselves a huge disservice by avoiding every problem that we should be facing.

When we avoid our problems we are denying ourselves the opportunity to learn, the opportunity to build resilience, the opportunity to become a better problem solver… the opportunity to experience new opportunities.

Rarely do we achieve anything worth recognising or feel proud about when in a state of problem free comfort. Rarely does this happen without requiring courage and a few steps outside our comfort zone. In fact, I can’t think of anything I have achieved worth noting that didn’t take discomfort, a little risk and some courage.

All the plain things, all the things that deliver short term enjoyment, all the things that make us happy but not fulfilled… they all occur within our comfort zones and they generally require minimal to zero problem solving to acquire. They do us some good, but they fade. They give us that mini fix of dopamine we love to much, but it pales in comparison to the things that truly fulfill us. 

Despite us all knowing this to some degree, we still see problems as the bane of our existence. 

The problem is how many of us perceive problems. 

Firstly, the degree of how much something is a problem is completely subjective. Something that bothers me could be a non issue to you. Something that would be considered a big problem by society could be an absolute nightmare to manage for one person, but a piece of cake to another. We can’t compare, we can’t judge. Everyone’s perception of what is a stressor to them and their existence is never the same.

Secondly, many people perceive problems as roadblocks that cannot be overcome, that have zero underlying value and they hold absolutely no purpose other than to bring you down or slow you down. To you, you would be 100% better off if they never existed. 

This is not true.

When we are teeny crawling babies we are faced with an epic problem… “how the hell do I walk like all those tall people when I cannot understand just about anything going on around me?” We begin to problem solve until the result is achieved. The result for finding a solution? We can now walk. If we all avoided this problem we would be a world of crawlers.

When we start our schooling journey our teacher delivers us problems to solve every day. Every task is a problem to figure out and overcome. The reward for finding a solution? We learn. Our ability to think independently and abstractly grows, our ability to solve a problem increases. If we avoid our school tasks and refuse the challenge, we don’t become as independent and resilient as the other kids. 

When we face our first breakup or breakdown of a friendship. We experience the problems of trying to overcome great sadness, heartache and anger. When we seek to overcome our trauma, we learn lessons about ourselves, socialising, relationships, trust, honesty. When we avoid it all and hide away, we lose that opportunity to reflect and grow from our problem. We struggle with socialising and relationships from that point forward until we solve the problems.

Rather than seeing problems as a terrible nuisance we must always see them as an opportunity. 

When a job at work blows up in our faces, our systems fall apart and the business takes a huge hit, we are confronted with ALL the problems! We are now at a crossroads. Is this disaster a burden to all involved, or is it an opportunity?

When we perceive the issue as a terrible nuisance we are most likely to just patch up the problems and pray that the same disaster never happens again. “Phew! We got out of that one through the skin of our teeth!”

But when we seek opportunity not only do we fix the problem but we eventually find ourselves in a better position than ever before. We reevaluate and improve our systems, we learn about the errors that were made and implement new preventative systems, we build stronger relationships among those involved in the problem solving process and we open ourselves up to new relationships and potential networking opportunities with those that came in to help us with our problems. Heck, we may even figure out a far better way to run our entire business and overhaul the place for the betterment of everybody. 

All it could take is a change in the way we perceive our problems.

Every time we shy away from new opportunities and new challenges we deny ourselves an opportunity. A small one, a big one, possibly a huge fucking life changing one. And because of what? Fear? Ego? Looking silly? Worry of judgement? Because it looks too hard? Because bed is more comfy?

C’mon people. 

Three quotes to leave you with:

“Because pain is the universal constant of life, the opportunities to grow from that pain are constant in life. All that is required is that we don’t numb it, that we don’t look away. All that is required is that we engage it and find the value and meaning in it.” – Mark Manson – Everything is Fucked

“When we deny ourselves the ability to feel pain for a purpose, we deny ourselves the ability to feel any purpose in our life at all.”- Mark Manson – Everything is Fucked

“Just because there is a goalie doesn’t mean you can’t score.” – Truman Tararo – Literally told me this today.