I’ve got 99 problems but a ***** ain’t one

– Ice-T

You know, I couldn’t help but think why someone would consider some matters as problems and not others. If you stop to think about it, it seems people move from solving one problem to tackling another. For instance, money could be a problem for a young man, then he hustles and takes it off his list of problems, then comes the relationship problem, then comes the parenting problem, then the health problems… and on and on it goes, sometimes cyclical instead of linear.

I couldn’t but help to think of the definition of “problem”, the word, and it goes thus:

A matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.

– Oxford English Dictionary

You see, I think the problem of problems comes from our definition of, and thus, response to problem (pun!!!).  I know the concept of replacing the word “problem” with “challenge” is quite hackneyed so I’m not gonna beat a dead horse, I want to give it life.

I’m very concerned about the default response we have to matters we consider as problems and those we consider as challenges. I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “challenge”, I often associate it with victory, excitement, perseverance and reward. When I hear the word “problem”, I instead think of something going wrong, something unpleasant happening, a stumbling block, etc. So that’s settled, seeing matters as challenges instead of problems in a literal sense of the word produces better responses. Let’s take a look at the definition of the word “challenge”.

A call to take part in a contest or competition, especially a duel.

– Oxford English Dictionary

So, what’s the normal ways we react to problems, maybe we worry, we fret, then eventually think and take action. What about challenges, well I must admit, we may also get scared, but most times we get excited and think creatively, then take action. The obvious difference is the levels of anxiety, fear, worry, and unproductive action is much reduced in the latter.

So, don’t see matters arising as problems, see them as challenges, challenges to be solved by creative thinking and deliberate action, and remember, life happens to us all, our response is what matters

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