Problems are Opportunities in the Land of "I can"
Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem a turned it into an opportunity.
Lately I have been observing people's responses to different circumstances that they encounter. Everywhere you go, you can hear people complaining about this and that.
Nothing is ever quite right. The weather. The economy. Your job. Your relationships. Your state of health. There is always something for us to criticize, bemoan, and vent about.
If you are not careful, you will be sucked into a hurricane of negative thinking and critical commentary.
Being cynical is not a personality flaw. It is a habit ingrown over time. Sometimes, parents unknowingly teach the habit to their children. And these children grow into adults that see life through a negative lens.
Add to this our culture's bias towards negativity and you have a perfect setup for people who trudge through life complaining, quitting, and tell anyone who will listen about everything that is WRONG with life.
In a blog post on the University of Minnesota's website, Karen Lawson M.D. talks about the impact of negativity on your health. She says,
Negative attitudes and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness can create chronic stress, which upsets the body's hormone balance, depletes the brain chemicals required for happiness, and damages the immune system. Chronic stress can actually decrease our lifespan.
Karen Lawson M.D., Think and Feel for Health
This does not mean that bad things don't happen. Problems will come and do come. But for every problem that you encounter in life, there is a way to view it that gives you an advantage - and a better attitude.
I stumbled on this after listening to hours and hours of speeches and teaching from people like Zig Ziglar and Les Brown. I studied it further by reading books like Napoleon Hill's ground-breaking classic Think and Grow Rich. I recently studied Napoleon Hill's work on a deeper level and found this principle hidden in his teachings.
It has been called the "power of positive thinking." This term has been overused in the last couple of decades and often misused by proselytes trying to make a quick dollar. Unfortunately, it turned people away from some really good research-based findings that Napoleon Hill spent his life studying and teaching.
It can be better described as "the ability to see problems as opportunities."
For people who are stuck in a negative narrative of "life sucks," this simple methodology seems oversimplified and unrealistic. After all, there are many REASONS why a problem is a problem.
a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event.
We typically think of reasons as causes, but note that the definition also encompasses explanations and justifications. I will have you know that explanations and justifications are based purely on opinion and not on fact. So when listing reasons, one must separate fact (cause) from opinion (explanation or justification) in order to arrive at a conclusion. This being said, it means that by way of explaining and justification, your reason becomes your reality instead of the truth.
This is the fallacy that lies in negative thinking. You contrive a story in your head that appears to be real. The cruel trick of negative thinking is that is also absolves you of power and limits your problem-solving.
Positive thinking, on the other hand, opens your mind to the concept that your problem may be disguised as such when it is really an opportunity.
a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.
You can also look at it this way: negativity blocks the flow of creative problem-solving while positivity opens the flow.
When you open the flow to creative problem-solving, you are able to see what others cannot see.
Albert Einstein is credited with quoting, "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."
Seeing your problem as an opportunity opens your mental pathways to seeing possibilities instead of barricades and roadblocks. It opens the doorway to "I can..."
I am overweight, but I can eat healthier and move more.
I am in a dead end job, but I can learn some new skills.
My relationship with my significant other sucks, but I can work hard on being the best person I can be.
I don't have the money that I need, but I can watch my spending.
Problems are opportunities in the land of "I can."
I don't know about you, but I gave up on having a "perfect" life a long time ago. My problems did not go away. But I learned to embrace them in a different way.
Embracing my problems as opportunities has allowed me to develop skills in areas that I never would have looked at. It has taken me into relationships that I never would have found without stretching outside of my comfort zone to find a solution to my problem.
It has simply made my life richer and fuller.
And seeing your problems as opportunities can do the same for you.
Don't waste another minute complaining, moaning, or groaning about your problem. Look at your problem and say "Great, I have a new OPPORTUNITY."
Then put on Your Unique and go for it!
And know that I am cheering for you!
P.S. I have a few more slots left for my new program that will help you develop a 90-day plan to make progress to your goal. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.