How to Face Problems in Life
Sometimes, we welcome problems. But during other times we try really
hard to avoid them. But aren't we constantly looking for ways to better
face them? here's something to read:
Tired of a life of struggle, a young woman sought her mother's advice.
She told her how things were so hard for her and how she was unable to
cope with problems. Her mother took her to the kitchen and filled three
pots with water. In the first, she put carrots, in the second, she put
eggs and in the last, she placed coffee beans. She let them boil without
saying a word. Twenty minutes later, she turned off the burners and
asked her daughter, "What do you see?"
"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," the daughter replied. The mother drew her
closer and told her to feel the carrots. She did and saw that they were
soft. She was then asked to take an egg and break it. On shelling, the
daughter found a hard-boiled egg. Finally, she was asked to sip the
coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma.Perplexed, she
asked, "What's your point, mother?" Her mother explained that each of
these objects had faced the same adversity -boiling water - but each had
reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting,
but soon turned soft and weak. The egg, when put to the test, had
hardened. However, the ground coffee beans were unique. They had changed
the texture of the water and filled it with their aroma. "Which are
you?" she asked her daughter. "When problems knock on your door, how do
you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"
There is much to learn from that fable. Which one are you? Are you the
carrot that seems strong, but wilts in the face of pain and adversity?
Are you the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but hardens when in
adversity? Or, are you like the coffee bean, which actually changes the
water, the very circumstance that brings the pain, by its fragrance and
flavour. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do
you elevate to another level? There lies the secret to solving problems
and handling adversity.
Problems are part and parcel of life. But as they say, where there's a
will there's a way. For every problem, there's an alternative course of
action. You just have to find it.
The most natural course of action is to evade the problem or just wish
it away, but problems, like cancers, usually stay around and spread. So,
it's better to confront the situation before it becomes an emergency.
The real problem is not that there are problems. The problem is
expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem. When
you accept problems, you also learn to have a contingency plan. For
instance, when you know there is a danger of fire, you keep
extinguishers handy. The important thing to remember about conflicts is
that they happen all the time and they are actually opportunities
disguised as problems. They provide us with better ways to fix what
needs to be fixed and improve what needs to be improved.
And since most problems are man-made, solutions are within our reach.
There are two reasons why we tend to see a problem as a problem: the
fact that it has to be solved; and our apprehension about the outcome of
Here are some tips that will help when the going gets tough:
Move On - As Ford said, "Don't find fault, find a remedy. Focus on what
to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the
answer. Don't just panic as `worry is like a rocking chair - it gives
you something to do but won't get you anywhere." Learn to think `how'
rather than waste time with futile "ifs".
Understand the Problem - Problem solving is the ability to make careful
choices. The steps to be followed are: understand the problem; gather
the facts; set up the problem; estimate what the outcome should be; work
it out; and check the answer. Ask questions, clarify facts and evaluate
options to find a workable solution. That's the formula.
Think straight - In problem solving, it is important to have the right
mindset. It helps to be open-minded and have the ability to think
out-of-the-box. When you have broader vision and unique ideas, you have
more tools at your disposal which helps fix the problem better.
Say it with a smile - A prerequisite in any situation in life is the
ability to laugh in the face of problems. It really downsizes the
enormity of the problem. A sense of humour maintains a sense of balance
as it prevents people from collapsing with grief and worry. Humour is
more than just being funny; it helps keep things in perspective.
Teamwork - Two minds are better than one. It does help to have more
people involved in solving a problem, both for moral support and for the
greater range of experience that they can bring to the problem-solving
table with their outlook and personality. It adds depth to the
troubleshooting team. As Voltaire said, `No problem can stand the
assault of sustained thinking.'
Brainstorm - When it comes to problem solving, ten ideas are better than
one. Each idea is worth considering, as the most unlikely one might
just be the answer. Resist the temptation to find quick short-term
solutions. It tries to put the solution at the beginning of the process,
when what is needed is a solution at the end. People have an inborn
trait to solve problems if they only just take the time to grasp the
situation without panicking.
Write it all down - Keep a record of what is going on. It helps in
future problem solving when you have it all in black and white. During a
crisis, your memory banks can be scarcely relied upon.
One for all and all for one - This is a critical step that is usually
missing. Interests are needs that you want satisfied by a given
solution. The best solution is the one that serves everyone's interests.
This is the time for active listening. Forget your differences for a
while and listen.
Learn from past mistakes - One must be big enough to admit his mistakes,
smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.
Learning from problems is growth in the right direction.
Problems are to the mind what exercise is to the muscles; they toughen
and make you strong. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Maybe you don't feel all that brave and strong, but just the act of
confronting a problem head-on is a step in the right direction.