May 262011
Dark Night by Mbarrison

Problems are a part of life. Every day, we have to face problems in various shapes and forms. It could be something simple and mundane like trying to deal with a virus in our PCs. Or it could be something more complicated like relationships. It could also be problems at work or something on a larger scale like unrest in the Middle East. All of these are problems that affect our lives directly or indirectly. While we can avoid some of these problems, we cannot avoid them all. Eventually, we will have to stand and fight.

In truth, facing problems is not such a bad thing. Since we cannot avoid all the problems or adversity in life, to be able to master challenges is a vital life skill. Our ability in this area determines whether we will be able to attain our goals and protect our interests. It determines whether life will shape or break us. As such, it makes perfect sense to master the challenges of life for the following reasons.

1. Problems are a Part of Life

Problems are a part of life; we cannot run away or avoid them forever. Even if we can avoid one or a few hurdles, we cannot avoid them all. There might be times when it is more prudent to retreat, but make no mistake; this is merely a temporary measure. At some point, we will have no choice but to face our problems. Then we have to stand and fight to resolve matters, preferably at a time and place of our choosing. This is actually a good thing because our goals, hopes and dreams lie on the other side of those challenges. When we get through adversity, we attain our deepest desire. This is the reward of never giving up and letting nothing stand in the way of reaching our goals.

2. Invaluable Experience and Wisdom

That which does not kill us makes us stronger. –Friedrich Nietzsche

Avoiding important problems in our lives does us little good. Without the challenge from our problems to stretch us, we learning nothing new and gain no further insights into life. As a result, not only does the problem remain, we miss a chance to grow. We do not know the best choices to make in a difficult situation and have little idea of how to manage change well. A human body needs constant usage to prevent muscular atrophy. Similarly, we will not be able to manage difficulties if we keep avoiding problems. We simply do not have the wisdom that comes with experience to do so.

Nothing shapes and changes us like adversity. With each problem that we face, manage and resolve, we become more than we were. We know what to do and when to do it. Not only do we grow in experience and wisdom, we also gain a greater capacity to cope with difficulties. Like a seasoned veteran, there is little that we cannot manage. This is most useful when we are striving to attain our goals or to protect our loved ones and interests. Nothing can overwhelm us when it matters the most.

3. Confidence

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. –Franklin Roosevelt

Problems usually involve the unknown. If we knew how to manage problems, they would not be problems or unknown in the first place. As with any unknown, there is always the fear of the unknown that comes with it. The more we avoid adversity, the greater our fear and doubt in ourselves become. Thus, when we face a problem that we cannot avoid, we will lack the confidence needed to manage it well. Here our fear and doubts can overwhelm us and cause us to make mistakes due to our clouded judgment.

Fear comes from uncertainty while certainty brings confidence. Facing each problem that comes our way not only resolves the issues in our lives, it also gives us confidence to manage future troubles. In the face of grave adversity, it is vital that we trust ourselves. Only by doing so can we be calm and maintain our composure to succeed. So take each challenge you face as a chance to hone your confidence. With confidence in yourself, you can master the challenges of life.

4. Spirit and Will

The greatest assets that we can have in dealing with challenges are our spirit and willpower. When the going is the hardest, our spirit and willpower allow us to hold on and get back up. It is because of our spirit and will that we can persevere long enough to succeed. Yet having an undying spirit and an iron will does not happen miraculously. We need the fires of adversity to forge our spirit and will. Therefore, the more problems we manage and overcome, the stronger our spirit and will becomes. With this increased capacity, we can manage anything in life.

New Dawn by Tasuki

Taking Action

How do you feel about problems and challenges? Do you feel there are there to help you learn and grow? Or do you see problems and challenges as the bane of your life? Do share your thoughts and comments below! :)

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  26 Responses to “How Problems Nurture Us”

  1. As you said in a recent post, timing is everything. I was just thinking about problems this morning before I read your post! Really! Your post helps me put things in perspective.

    I was thinking about different kinds of problems. Mundane problems about owning a home. There is always something that needs attention. The refrigerator door is stuck. A pipe in the sprinkler system is broken. There are ants in the pantry. I was feeling a bit cranky about these problems, so I set out to look at things differently. I thought about how much I love my home. I thought about it more like a relationship. If I were in a relationship with a person, I would not expect that person to have no needs or to never need attention. So why should I think my house should be quiet and perfect all the time? I switched my perspective from “I have to…” to “I get to…” I get to take care of this lovely home that I am so lucky to live in.

    I was also thinking about more significant problems, like an issue with one of my kids. I’m going to spend the day with her today, and I am concerned about how that’s going to go. We have some difficult things to talk about. I will need all four of your points to stay grounded and present, so again, the timing of reading this is perfect. I will remind myself of what I can and can’t control. This issue is a part of life and nothing I haven’t faced before. I have learned from the past so I have some experience and hopefully some wisdom. I have confidence because I have handled this successfully before. And I have spirit and willpower, forged in adversity and experience, just as you say.

    So thank you for sending me forth into this day calm and prepared. You are terrific!
    Galen Pearl recently posted..Three Kinds of KindnessMy Profile

    • Hi Galen,

      I am glad that my posts have some practical usage in your daily life which you have lovingly shared with us. :)

      We will always have to deal with problems in our lives. It is how we view these problems that will make the difference in whether we can manage them successfully. I love how you are able to shift your view of mundane problems about your house and the more significant issue with one of your kids to a more acceptive and responsive one. It certainly helps in getting what you need to do done. With composure, an awareness of the bigger picture and constant practice, there is little in life that we cannot manage and overcome.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  2. For me I don’t know if mastering challenges is the wording I would use versus optimizing happiness. This might just be a matter of semantics, I not sure.You always write such a thought provoking posts. Thanks so much
    RILEY HARRISON recently posted..Fantasy Vs RealityMy Profile

    • Hi Riley,

      I feel that problems can be an obstruction to the optimization of happiness. If my energy is not being tied down by the problems I have to deal with, it can be put to better use optimizing happiness. In any case, I feel that mastering challenges helps to lay the ground for happiness to grow and flourish.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  3. Irving,

    For years I had a practice of blaming everyone else for my problems. If something wasn’t going the way I wanted it to it was becasue somoene else was keeping me from doing it. As I have matured (I will use that term loosely. I have a long way to go.) I have instead started to point that finger of blame right at myself. Instead of complaining I try to take action that will put me in the position to overcome challenges and learn from my problems. The journey is hard but so is climbing a mountain. I want to get to the top and I will continue to pursue it until I do. Thanks for this timely read. We must have been reading from the same book with this weeks posts. lol!
    Frank recently posted..How Deep Are Your RootsMy Profile

    • Hi Frank,

      You are not alone. It was not that long ago when I blamed everyone else for my problems too. But since then I have learned to focus on the solutions to the problem and life has been better for me. Focusing on the solutions gives us the power to shape and influence events the way we want to. Things might not work out exactly as we wish, but it won’t be that far off the mark with our efforts.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  4. Hey Irving, how are you? It felt great to return to your site, I’ve come to view this blog as a place of tranquility and calm these days.

    About this post, I usually identify problems as ‘the greatest masters of disguise’. See, we all experience problems, it’s part of the fabric of life. But we have a conventional tendency to view problems as bad. Something we don’t want, we don’t have the time for, and it makes our lives more miserable.

    But this is far from the truth; problems are not to be avoided, they’re there to teach us. To help us learn, and grow, and uncover more of ourselves so that we can become better people. Every problem has a solution, no matter how trying, and the more problems we encounter and solve, the more we uncover our true selves and become better equipped to handle further problems.

    Take care Irving, great read :-)
    Stuart recently posted..Value 101- Part 8My Profile

    • Hi Stuart,

      Thank you for your kind words. I believe that if we can do things in a tranquil and natural way, it is easy to sustain our efforts. This is the underlying thread that I try to share in my writings.

      Seeing problems as “the greatest masters of disguise” is indeed an enlightened way to look at it. Your approach will definitely go a long way in helping you to manage and overcome the problems you face in life. It is indeed something we will all do well to bear in mind since problems cannot be avoided.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  5. I know that I created all this, including the “problems.” Still sometimes it’s not so easy to see why that might be so. It’s interesting to see how it can be so simple to have solutions for other people (not that we usually take advice!), but can be much more of a challenge to understand why you are having the experience that you are.
    Julie | A Clear Sign recently posted..My Reading With A Psychic MediumMy Profile

    • Hi Julie,

      I suppose when it comes to others we look on in a more detached manner. With this perspective we can see the bigger picture that they may fail to see. But as they are too emotionally invested, they might have a harder time with clarity about their problems.

      The same process applies to us in reverse order. When we are having problems, we are too emotionally invested to see the bigger picture. As such, it can be hard to act in our best interests. In such cases, it helps to have a wise friend or friends to guide us. Otherwise, reflection on our past experiences through the lens of time helps us to discerns the lessons contained therein and hopefully we will gain the wisdom not to make similar mistakes.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  6. Problems are usually things that we don’t want to deal with. Challenges are obstacles that we will gladly overcome.

    Problems are caused by others, challenges we create ourselves. Therefore I welcome challenges and avoid problems.
    Justin | Mazzastick recently posted..Do You Have Difficulty Charging Money For Your ServicesMy Profile

    • Hi Justin,

      That is a great perspective that you have on problem and challenges. Again perspective is the key to helping us to overcome the difficulties that come our way.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  7. Allowing problems or obstacles not to get in my way…I do this by acknowledging them, but also rising above them by allowing the universe to do this. It is all about how you react to situations that really have made the difference for me. I can choose to have a pity party and live this cycle over and over again until “I get it” or I can choose to look at it positively by stating that all things are perfect and meant to be. Thank you for this thought provoking post!
    Kenya recently posted..Making Love To The CosmosMy Profile

    • Hi Kenya,

      You are perfectly right. Life is about the choices we make. We can choose to wallow in self-pity or we can choose to do something about it.

      I have come to believe that the universe presents us with problems which are really lessons in disguise. It is by mastering the lessons we need to learn that we can resolve our problems. After all, swimming would no longer be a challenge once we learn how to swim right? So once we acquire the skills we need to resolve a problem or a challenge, it is no longer an issue.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  8. Hi Irving,

    Your post is an interesting angle on problems – taking a positive view on them, rather than the negative one most of us might take initially.

    Right from the start, the attitude you take towards a problem can greatly affect the outcome. If you see it as a ‘bad’ thing then your approach will likely be defeatist. On the other hand, if you can view the problem as an opportunity to grow, you’ll be a lot more successful in solving it.

    Nothing builds your psychological muscles like a having to solve a problem!
    Scott McIntyre | Vivid Ways recently posted..Life is Too Short to Waste So Start Living It NowMy Profile

    • Hi Scott,

      While we cannot control everything that happens to us, we can control how we react to events. This is especially important when it comes to dealing with problems. As you rightly point out, nothing builds our psychological muscles like problem solving. The more we practice, the better we become.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  9. No offense to Nietzsche, but I’m not sure I ever agreed with his assessment of what makes us stronger.

    I’ve often thought about those things that didn’t kill me. My life growing up was less than charmed, and I was abused for the first two decades of my life. It didn’t kill me, but I was definitely not stronger. In fact, I was very weak in spirit and in mind, and it left me open to abuse from my peers, co-workers, bosses, just about anyone. I let it happen.

    I’ve come now to believe that what doesn’t kill you simply doesn’t kill you. It’s completely up to each and every one of us to choose whether it will make us stronger, weaker, or simply leave us alive but unchanged. Only after I made the conscious choice to look for the lessons in my experiences did I then grow stronger. Of course, I also learned not to look at things as problems so much as obstacles to overcome.

    Delena Silverfox recently posted..GlobalEyeglassescom Coupon CodeMy Profile

    • Hi Delena,

      What you say is valid. Sometimes what does not kill you just doesn’t kill you. Some of my most painful experiences in life did not make me stronger at the point I experienced them. It is only now, many years later when I look back on my experiences that I realize that what I needed to learn was to change my perception of events. Sometimes it takes a few lessons before I get it. But what really matters in the end is getting the lesson right. I am glad that you have managed to change your perception of events. :)

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  10. Hi Irving,

    I haven’t been “getting around” as much as usual. I’ve missed visiting!

    But here I am… Great article, as usual. I’ve just been through a challenging few weeks. I guess you could call it a problem. Even as I was going through it I was aware of the gifts that were slowly but surely unfolding out of it. Like the little sprouts growing out of the compost pile. But you are right. In the end I’ve come out so much richer for it. (I’m jotting notes about it for my blog.)

    Of course, it’s nice to see it in hindsight now instead of being in the middle of it. But still. ;-)

    Thank you, Irving, for sharing your wisdom.
    Patti Foy | Lightspirited Being recently posted..Timely Tidbits- Eclipse Effects on Growth and RomanceMy Profile

    • Hi Patti,

      It is always nice to see you here! I have missed your presence! :)

      Getting through difficulties is always hard. It is only when we are safely on the other side that we can take stock of what we have been through in a more detached manner.

      I am glad to know that you have made it through safe and soundly while taking note of the gifts and opportunities in the midst of your difficulties. :)

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  11. We just have to adopt the right attitude when dealing with problems. If we have that right attitude, then problems would be a constructive one for us..
    Lynne Quintana recently posted..Three Musts For Effective Coaching TrainingMy Profile

    • Hi Lynne,

      Our attitude, choices and actions are the only things that we can truly control in life. It is therefore prudent that we make the right choices when we face challenges. This is the only way to manage problems successfully.

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your lovely comments! :)

  12. Irving: I think this is one of the things I have appreciated most to understand and learn. It really is important as you say to understand that problems and issues are going to arise, but our job is to manage through them and not resent their presence in our life. We really can become so much stronger and learn so much about ourselves when we manage through issues. I really appreciated your perspective and insights in this post.
    Sibyl – alternaview recently posted..5 Tips for Getting Through A Crazy Day And Not Letting it Suck You InMy Profile

    • Hi Sibyl,

      Change is the only constant in life. As such, it is impossible to have everything going smooth sailing for us all the time. The sooner we accept this, the sooner we will be able to take active measures to deal with problems that will surely arise.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  13. great post Vizier
    i always thought of problems as challenges that must be dealt with
    even though sometimes they become big still i believe in fighting back

    • Hi Farouk,

      Not giving up when we face problems of challenges is the only way to resolve them once and for all.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

      Irving the Vizier

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