We donâ€™t like problems. By our very nature, we abhor pain and seek pleasure. We cringe at the thought of people who are in deep trouble and carry significant burdens on their shoulders. We naturally say a silent prayer of thanksgiving that as of the moment, our lives are free from difficult struggles.
But problems are necessary ingredients for success. Without them, we grow up unprepared for the realities of life. When we shy away from them, we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to be adept at navigating life skilfully.
Look at our children now. Most parents I know make a pledge to make their childrenâ€™s lives better than theirs. That is not bad per se. But when they make sure that their kids do not go through the same difficulty they experienced when they were growing up, it can be dangerous.
What do parents do? They give their children almost everything, thinking that this will enable them to have a good life. But what happens when the parents are gone? The children commit blunders after blunders, because they do not have the ego strength and the problem solving skills honed by years of facing challenges.
I point out to parents that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the difficult life we had. Difficulties make us focused and persevere. Because we had not much choice unlike our children today, we worked harder and developed our perspective and character in the process.
There was a story of a boy who found a struggling butterfly in a cocoon. As he looked at it, he felt its pain as it squeezesits body in futility to get out from its cocoon. With the intention to help, the boy broke the cocoon and out the butterfly came.
With expectant eyes, the boy waited for the butterfly to stand up, grow its wings, and fly. But alas, it never did. It remained slump and bloated. The boy failed to realize that the struggle of the butterfly to get out from its cocoon is a necessary process for its body fluids to spread out and form its wings.
In like manner, problems sharpen our thinking and polish our character. It may squeeze our minds and hearts in pain, but in the process, we build our wing muscles and soon we find ourselves stronger and flying higher.
Think of the most successful person you know. Most likely, that person is a problem solver. Do you wonder why lawyers, doctors, engineers, and others are among the highest paid professionals? Because they solve some of our most difficult problems. The bigger the problem that is solved, the greater is the reward.
Either we fail or succeed in solving a problem, it does not matter. What is essential is the lesson we take to heart and the person we have become in the process.
And so, to be successful, we need to be problem solvers. When problems come, let us take it as an opportunity to grow and learn more, and not a hindrance to what we want. Because every great achievement is always a result of a problem solved.
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By Kit Nemenzo Balane