How Do You Respond to a Problem?

How Do You Respond to a Problem?

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend a talk given by Barbara Coloroso when she came to town several years ago. My children were young then so her down-to-earth, brilliant parenting advice came at a very good time.

One piece of advice she shared stayed with me all these years because it’s not just advice for children. It’s for us too.

She said parents needed to ensure their children got the message that there is no problem so great it cannot be solved. She taught them that a problem is merely something that requires a solution and they had the ability to find it. When her children came to her with a problem she calmly said,

“You have a problem. You need a plan.”

Is this how we typically respond to problems? No. Not I anyway. I rail against disruptions to my life with a chorus of “Why me’s?” and “Why now’s?”  I forget what I learned, what I taught my children! When I remember that a problem is just something that needs a solution, I know what to do. I make a plan.

Taking this approach immediately removes me from my former position; someone buried beneath a problem, to the position of objective observer. Einstein said a problem could not be solved on the same level on which it was created. The decision to make a plan puts me on a different level. I see things more clearly. I feel empowered and resourceful. I’m no longer a person with a problem. I am now the person who is going to find a solution.

I believe those who lead the most successful lives are those who have learned how to accept and solve their problems. Life is filled with challenges-masked-as-problems. What a sage investment of time and energy to become skilled at solving them.

What is your response when a problem shows up in your life? Are you adept at solving problems? What’s your secret?

photo credit: Man in the Stand

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About The Author


I am passionate about writing and community building. I’ve written a book about healing and happiness, The Happy Place, as well as a Community Building book, Sounding the Drum: Community Building in the Digital Age, now available at any Amazon store. I’ve been through life changes that I thought were the end of my world, but I’m still here. I never know what will happen next. Isn’t that what makes life interesting?