Stop Creating Your OWN Problems

Previously, I wrote about the importance of becoming more solution-oriented than identifying-problems-and-never-doing-anything-oriented, and I thought I should write some personal reflections on just how to achieve that state.

Remembering the glass as half-full and other idioms of optimism have one theme in common: your world-view. The issue isn’t a problem unless you see it that way. By viewing your problems as a hurdle, instead of a giant brick wall, you jump on the fast track of tackling the issue. Through that simple mental shift you’re able to start finding a solution rather than looking at the size of the wall and giving up right away.

Here’s another one: A problem is never a problem unless you make it so.

This past Friday night, a program for young people in Sugarland, Texas didn’t go as planned. Several of the attendees didn’t show up until 6:50pm (35 minutes after the program started) and half the attendees were about an hour and a half late. At 6:30pm, the organizers of the program had no clue that everyone would be late and their only concern was all the BBQ meat still sitting in the car going to waste. Almost $150 worth of food would go down the drain if something wasn’t done, and in this economy $150 is worth about $1,500.

Did the manager of the program whine and complain or curse the heavens?

He sprung into action by discussing ways to solve the problem at hand: what to do with all this food? After a brief discussion, he arrived at the solution and decided that all the food should go to another program 30 minutes away and the BBQ would be used to feed young people there who would like hot dogs more than the ethnic menu and the adults would get all the spicy food to themselves.

Brilliant. Problem-solved. Headache gone.

This manager wasn’t always solution-oriented. In fact, no one who IS solution-oriented was born that way. It happens over a period of time, with a continued understanding that a problem is actually a puzzle waiting to be solved.


  1. Always view the issue at hand as a puzzle (even if you’re horrible at them). Try to solve it.
  2. When the pieces don’t fit together, don’t give up. When those training wheels first came off, and you fell smack on your side, you didn’t stop trying to ride your bike… did you? If it doesn’t work the first, second, third, or fourth time… keep trying.
  3. Don’t let the issue overwhelm you. Take baby steps. Any puzzle guide will tell you to start by identifying the corner pieces, then the edge pieces, then the common colors and so on. You have to start somewhere.
  4. Know this: EVERY puzzle can be solved. If not right away, then sooner or later, the pieces will come together and it will be completed. However, the ONLY way it will happen is if you are making an honest attempt to put it together.
  5. Lastly, if you can’t fix it with your hand, then fix it with your words, and if you can’t fix it with your words, then continue to desire a solution in your heart (click here to reference).

1 Comment

  1. Walker
    Mar 17, 2010

    Excellent Article!

    If I could write like this I would be well chuffed ;-)

    The more I read articles of such quality as this (which is rare), the more I think there might be a future for the Web. Keep it up, as it were.


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