I think we’ve all become quite weary of those overly cheery types who declare that there’s no such thing as a problem, everything is an opportunity.
No, I don’t buy it either.
But if we step back, there’s a useful idea within the concept that we should consider. The fact is that when people are faced with problems, they’re looking for some kind of solution. That might be a fix for the source of the problem, a way to avoid it, preventing it in the future, or whatever. That desire for a solution can be the opportunity.
Let’s say that I’m fed up with my job, but feeling locked in by circumstances. If I’m smart, my dissatisfaction leads me to look for ways to alleviate the pain. There are several opportunities that I might be able to take advantage of:
- I am now more open to the possibility of changing jobs.
- I will be looking for how others might have solved this problem.
- I’ll discuss with my friends or my coach how to create a solution which will meet my needs.
In other words, I’ve put attention, energy, and creativity into developing a solution.
All of this depends, of course, on looking at this thoughtfully. If I spend all my energy bemoaning the situation and bad-mouthing my boss, I’ve reduced my opportunities for a good solution.
When you’re observing or experiencing a significant problem, then, spend some thought on:
- Who potentially has time and energy to spend on finding a solution?
- Do you know what a great solution would look like?
- What would you be willing to change to find a solution?
These questions will give you a great start for switching your focus from the problem to the solution.
by Carl Dierschow