The Upside of Problems

Michael Hyatt recently posted an article on why we should welcome problems – well at least some problems. He included this quote from Max Lucado’s book, Great Every Day:

“You ought to be glad for the troubles on your job because they provide about half your income. If it were not for the things that go wrong, the difficult people with whom you deal, and the problems of your working day, someone could be found to handle your job for half of what you are being paid. So start looking for more troubles. Learn to handle them cheerfully and with good judgment, as opportunities rather than irritations, and you will find yourself getting ahead at a surprising rate. For there are plenty of big jobs waiting for people who are not afraid of troubles.”

Sure, I do not break out in glee when a problem arises. Not many do. Though I’ve read about two people who often did. One was Theodore Roosevelt. He often greeted problems with his favorite word, “Bully” and then got down to addressing it. He saw problems as challenges to be conquered. Another was Andrew Carnegie. One day one of his aids came to him very upset and announced that one of their steel mills had burned down. Carnegie grinned and replied, let’s get to work designing a new one.

Problems on the job especially can have several advantages. They can stir us from complacency when all is going well. As Hyatt says they can stretch us, force us to do more or do things differently. As we successfully solve problems our confidence increases.

Problems can deepen our understanding of how things work or how the world is changing.

Problems are often not welcomed. They take extra effort, often extra money, and they can frustrate us. But they also make us grow. They can open doors to new opportunities and ideas. So before you lament the next problem too quickly consider what you might learn from it. Maybe when a problem creeps up on us we ought to smile and say “Bully!”

Read the rest of Hyatt’s article here.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.