The Value of Appreciating Problems


A problem isn’t a problem unless you allow it to be a problem! John Maxwell explains why a problem is really an opportunity.

When you hear the word problem, is your emotional response positive? Probably not. Appreciating a problem is counterintuitive for many people. Most people see a problem as a nuisance and try to avoid it. However, if we have the right attitude and appreciate a problem, not only will we work harder to solve it, but we will also learn and grow from it.

Problems always bring opportunities, and opportunities always bring problems. The two go hand in hand. If we can learn to appreciate that truth, we have a real advantage in life.

A fantastic illustration of the benefits of adversity can be seen in the way an eagle meets the challenge of turbulent winds.

  • Turbulent winds cause the eagle to fly higher. There is tremendous lifting power in the thermal updrafts of turbulent winds. These updrafts cause the eagle to reach great heights as he soars with them.
  • Turbulent winds give the eagle a larger view. The higher the eagle flies, the larger will be his perspective of the land below him. From this higher position the sharp eyes of the eagle are able to see much more.
  • Turbulent winds lift the eagle above harassment. At lower elevations the eagle is often harassed by suspicious crows, disgruntled hawks, and other smaller birds. As the eagle soars higher, he leaves behind all these distractions.
  • Turbulent winds allow the eagle to use less effort. The wings of the eagle are designed for gliding in the winds. The feather structure prevents stalling, reduces the turbulence, and produces a relatively smooth ride with minimum effort—even in rough winds.
  • Turbulent winds allow the eagle to stay up longer. The eagle uses winds to soar and glide for long periods of time. In the winds, the eagle first glides in long shallow circles downward and then spirals upward with a thermal updraft.
  • Turbulent winds help the eagle to fly faster. Normally, the eagle flies at a speed of about 50 miles an hour. However, when he glides in wind currents, speeds of well over 100 miles per hour are not uncommon.

A problem isn’t really a problem unless you allow it to be a problem. A problem is really an opportunity. If you can see it that way, then every time you face a problem, you will realize that you’re really faced with something potentially positive. At the least, it’s an opportunity to learn. But it could become even more if you pursue solving it with the right attitude.


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