Does anyone out there have any problems? I know I sure do. Problems are everywhere! Just think about out it. At work, home, school, church, sports, with our computers, we face new problems daily, everyone does. I think over the years, what most of us have learned is that the problems that are ignored don’t disappear. They are still there, lurking in the background, off in the shadows waiting to come to light at the perfect moment. I.e. the car that breaks down when you have no money in the bank but the check engine light was on when you had money in the bank.
Sometimes the problems just get older or become bigger. Just because you don’t answer the phone doesn’t mean that the bill isn’t still due collecting more and more intent each day we don’t address it. The bill that started at $200 in 2021 will be $2000 in 2031.
The other thing I find interesting is we tend to lose perspective of our problems when we see them in others. If I only had the problems that he or she has it would be so easy to work through them, but when we have the same problems they can seem so insurmountable. John Maxwell says that our perspective of the problem, not the problem, determines our success or failure. So what is the right and wrong perspective?
The Right Perspective
- Problems are solvable
- Problems are temporary.
- Problems are a part of life.
- Problems make us better.
- Problems challenge us
- Problems stretch us.
The Wrong Perspective
- Problems are unsolvable.
- Problems are permanent
- Problems are not a part of life.
- Problems make us bitter
- Problems control us
- Problems stop us
Anytime you have a problem and when you respond to it correctly, the problem will move you forward. The word “problem” comes from the Greek word “pro baleen” which means “to throw” or “drive forward.” Our problems will never leave us the same, they will move you forward if you allow them to. We need to remember that we are all going to have difficult days, but those will be the days of the most growth in our lives, if we shift our perspective to see our problems as opportunities. Another thing we need to remember is a problem is something we can do something about. Fred Smith said “If I can’t do anything about it, it’s not a problem; it’s a fact of life”. When you make small plans, expect small problems. When you make big plans, expect big problems. Know that the size of your problems will most likely be congruent with the size of your plans.
John Maxwell also gave us the 7 R’s for successful problem-solving.
1. Rule your emotions. If you can keep your head on when everyone else around you is losing theirs you will have a better chance of solving the problem.
2. Remember what God can and will do for you. Robert Schuller said, “Impossibilities vanish when a man and his God confront a mountain.”
3. Refuse to give up. The moment you say “I give up” someone else is seeing the situation and saying, “My, what a great opportunity.”
4. Refocus on the task. “Concentration is the secret of strength in politics, in war, in trade, in short, in all management of human affairs’ - Ralph Waldo Emerson
5. Realize your enemy’s strategy.
6. Rethink your strategy. -No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking.
7. Return to the work. Don’t give up and don’t ignore the problem. It will not go away and chances are it will just get bigger.
“If you have a problem, do what you can where you are with what you have.” - Teddy Roosevelt