Why Problems Are Actually Great Things

“Difficulties are just things to be overcome” Ernest Shackleton

What kind of week have you had?

I’ve had a really challenging one, we’re knee-deep in the build of our website and all although it’s really exciting and we’re making loads of really cool decisions we’re also confronting some really big issues.

Problems are everywhere, everyone has them and if someone says they don’t have them then they’re lying.

All I keep hearing about at the moment is problems. My friend calls me to tell me he’s feeling massively overwhelmed with all the problems he has at work. My fiancé comes home and tells me that she’s overwhelmed by all the problems she’s facing planning the wedding! Problems problems problems…

Well that’s one way of looking at them.

I have a really simple rule of thumb at work and that’s spend 80% of the time focused on the solution and only 20% of the time on the problem. If you focus on problems all day you get nothing done and you’d feel stressed, burnt out and miserable. Problems don’t go away, they always show up, you don’t need to go looking for more of them so we need to learn how to embrace them.

In business, the fact is if we didn’t have problems then nothing progressive would ever really get done. If everything was great then you wouldn’t feel the need to innovate or challenge the status quo. Problems are the cornerstone of any successful business, they are the heartbeat, and if you’re not solving a problem then your business will quickly cease to exist. For us, if managing your career was easy then we wouldn’t be building our business. If hiring great talent was easy then we wouldn’t have a revenue stream.

Problems are actually great, they get us to do more stuff. They bring us together, it’s in times of difficulty that real bonds are formed, especially if you’re down the foxhole together. 

My hypothesis; it’s not problems you hate; it’s not knowing how to manage them that sucks. Managing problems takes skill and a lot of emotional fitness. The good news is that every problem has corresponding opportunity and at least 1 counterpart solution. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed why not take 5 minutes out and write down the problems you face right now and 3 potential solutions to each of the problems you’ve listed. Your solutions don’t need to be perfect (you’ll have time to optimize them later) but by focusing on these solutions and not the problems means you’ll start to solve them and start making progress.

The best of us are able to create a habit of consistently viewing problems as opportunities, try these examples

  • Health issues? It’s a reminder to live life to the full.
  • Customer rejects your offer? Time to work on refining your offering until its irresistible.
  • Job burnout? It’s steering you towards your perfect career.
  • Employee leaves your team? Time to find someone even better.
  • Hair loss? Time to finally find a hat that suits you.

We can all choose whether to treat our challenges as problems or opportunities.

What opportunities are you faced with today?

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Read more about some awesome culture ideas here: http://blog.talentrocket.co.uk/43-company-culture-ideas-actually-work/

2 Comments

  1. timhawley@hotmail.co.uk' Tim October 16, 2013

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