Life is a series of problems. Experts say that we’re all in one of three places. One, you just came out of a crisis. Two, your in a crisis right this moment, or three… guess what… you’re getting ready to head into a crisis.
So, life is a series of problems. More importantly, life is about how we handle problems. I see problems simply as opportunities in disguise. That may sound like a cliche, but that doesn’t make it not true. Problems can mean growth if you choose to look for the opportunity.
The super successful are problem solvers. Our value to the marketplace is in solving problems. For example, if we don’t solve a problem for a customer, then we aren’t worth anything to them. That’s harsh, but it’s also true.
The famed author and preacher, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale was plagued with a problem one day. He just couldn’t come up with a solution and he felt like he was up against an obstacle the size of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
Finally, Norman was told he needed to go see this particular wise old man. They said if anyone can help you find a solution, it is this man. So, Norman relented and he went to visit the old man. The man opened the squeaky front door and allowed Norman to enter the house.
The old man led Norman to the living room and pointed to a chair for him to sit down. The old man sat down adjacent to him in a well worn recliner. While rocking back and forth, the old man asked, “Son, what brings you out this way?”
Norman shared his miserable problem with the old man and every thing he had tried to no avail to solve it. The old man leaped out of his chair like a rocket launching from Cape Canaveral. Norman couldn’t believe that the man could move that quickly.
All of sudden, the old man started to raise his hands in the air over and over again while walking in a circle in the middle of the room. Norman began to wonder what he had gotten himself into. Was the old man delusional? Had he lost his mind?
Sheepishly, Norman asked, “Sir, may I ask what you are doing?”
“Why, I am heaping up the problem of course. You can’t expect to solve a problem until you get it in a pile.”
After a moment, the old man stopped ‘heaping” the problem and continued walking in a circle – this time poking a crooked, raggedy finger into an imaginary pile. Norman asked, “What are you doing now?”
“Why, I am looking for the soft spot. Every problem has a soft spot. You can’t solve a problem until you find it’s soft spot… Hey, there it is right here! Son, that is where you will find your solution.”
In his wild eccentric way, what this old man was dong was helping Norman kickstart his creative juices. Every problem has a solution if you believe there is a solution and choose to look for the opportunity. Sometimes, the opportunity isn’t found where you expect it to be found. Sometimes, it is a shift in an attitude which leads you to acceptance and then to a new horizon which in turn leads to the new opportunity.
If you need a new answer to solve a problem then you had better ask new questions. Many times we stare at our problem like we are staring at a brick wall. Instead, we need to look for the door to walk through or at least a window to climb in from.
To be super successful in this life, we have to be solution oriented. I want you to do something for me – actually it is for yourself. I want you to pull out a piece of paper. Go ahead. I’ll wait. I’m not going anywhere.
Alright. Now, I want you to jot down on the paper a problem you are dealing with right now. It may be a business problem you are is experiencing. It may be a relationship problem. Whatever it is, write it down now. Let’s deal with that problem immediately.
Many people don’t want to face their problem. It is equivalent to throwing a little monster under the table so we can’t see it. However, hidden from view, that little monster of a problem finds crumbs under the table and it begins to eat. It grows and gets bigger and bigger. Eventually it is so big that the table can’t hide it anymore and we have to deal with it. So, let’s deal with it now while it is small.
Heap the problem up and look for the soft spot and before you know it… it won’t be a problem anymore. It will have been solved.