“Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure.
Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and our wisdom.
It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and physically.”1
Life is hard, sometimes unfair, and often very much full of little & big problems that everyone eventually will face in different circumstances, and to different degrees. Both my parents loved The Road Less Traveled, by Scott Peck, so growing up, whenever I faced problems, they had this approach to face your problems, to meet them with discipline, to know that “With total discipline, we can solve all problems.”1
That always confused me… to solve all problems… with just discipline? I believe it now. I’ve tested it now. I still experience it, everyday through the choices I make to either keep problems manageable or at bay (taking care of necessary duties, chores, health, and running a household while still having a life outside it), or to let problems overtake me through general lack of discipline.
When I was working, solving problems was a wonderful part of my job – a part I truly enjoyed contributing to and actually miss everyday. Usually all the problems that we met were not particularly huge or complicated, it was simply that they took a great amount of time to solve or complete… it truly came down to discipline. Was I able to stay the course, keep at a dauntingly mundane, yet absolutely necessary task? Was I able to keep coming at the same problem in efforts to view it in new and different ways in order to come up with a creative solution?
Discipline is hard because it’s painful – either emotionally (sticking to your budget by saying no to unnecessary wants… or sitting there, doing a mundane task for hours), or physically (forcing yourself to walk or exercise, even when you know you’d rather be doing something else). Discipline is hard to put into action, but unless you want a life full of needless problems, it is one of those things that must be accepted in life.
Some things I’ve found to be true about problems:
The reason why we can’t seem to solve a particular problem is usually related to not spending the necessary time needed to figure out the solution
- We are more likely to look for an escape from our problems than to actually suffer through them in order to grow spiritually and emotionally.
- Everyone has problems, but not everyone has the discipline to do something constructive to solve them.
- As we age, problems certainly don’t go away, but the encouraging thing is that with each new problem, we get a new chance to alter our perspective, to learn to welcome problems as the chance to grow.
1 – The Road Less Traveled, A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth, by M. Scott Peck, 1978.