Many a time, we fail to differentiate between problems and issues and, mostly, respond in the same way to both. Problems and issues have characteristics which are diametrically opposite to each other. They, therefore, have to be dealt with differently. Problems, if left unsolved, have the potential to stop our progression in life, but issues can stop us only if we pay excessive attention to them. Problems are inevitable while issues are nonessential. Confront problems, but deal with issues only if they cannot be avoided. Let’s look at the inherent characters of the two.
How do we characterize something as a problem or an issue? Anything that critically stops you from progressing materially as well as intellectually – emotionally, mentally and spiritually — is a problem. Problem comes with three options: solve so that it is no more a hurdle in your way, allowing you to move forward with the knowledge and confidence acquired from the solution found; surrender to problem and live with it; and avoid problem by changing the course so that you evade the problem.
While dealing with problems, the biggest mistake we make is diagnosing symptoms of a problem as the problem itself, then, trying to solve the problem by focusing on symptoms. Let me make a simple illustration of this misgauge. My shirts’ collars always have more dirt than the rest part, making me to put extra soap to remove that dirt. Upon looking at this problem recently, I realized that the best way to solve this problem was to put that extra soap around my neck while bathing instead on the collars while washing clothes. I actualized my realization, and it solved the problem. Most problems in life have solutions within our reach provided that we do not synonymize symptoms with problems but look for and deal with the root cause(s) of problems.
Every problem is an opportunity, but an opportunity in disguise. Opportunity means that something is possible while problem is something that is apparently impossible. It is commonsensical that the solution to a problem opens up an opportunity. However, more important than finding solutions to problems is the realization that problems are opportunities, hence, have to be tackled, not procrastinated or avoided. Take a look at your life and see if you face more problems or opportunities. More problems. Right? Opportunities in plain, undisguised form visit you lesser in numbers compared to them coming veiled as problems. Quicker you take out opportunity from a problem faster the next opportunity knocks at you as another problem. Do not surrender to a problem and live with it nor take an evasion. Surrender option is dangerous because you are chaining yourself to the problem that will put a drag on you. That will make you to go on default mode to connect every irritant in your life to this unresolved problem. If you decide to avoid a problem by changing your course, it is not avoidance but evasion as the problem will resurface later in one form or another. Deal with your problems because they are your opportunities. I looked for easy ways in life only to find that they were trapped in difficulties called problems. More the problems you face happier be you.
How do we solve problems? Take problems to your mind which will give you solutions. Your subconscious mind has the solutions to all your problems provided that you make the problems to reside in your conscious mind. Reside means think deep about the problems and allow them to be in your active thought process. Never do take your problems to heart, for it will dispirit you as heart cannot think, hence, is not in a position to offer solutions. Knocking at the doors of heart for solutions will elicit no responses. Heart can only reject or accept what mind says, a process that involves tussle between emotion and discretion.
Issue is anything that diverts your attention from the path toward your goals. They defocus you. Issues are not critical to your success but have the potential to sabotage your way to success. Incidents that come up in your day-to-day dealings with friends or foes and acquaintances or strangers have no bearing on your future are issues. You should not pay undue attention to or spend much time on such non-critical things. Unnecessary and meaningless criticism, a grumbler friend, bickering couples in your neighborhood, noncompliant colleagues who have no work-interface with you, not scoring an A+ in every examination and in every subject, etc. are issues, not problems to bother about, and they should not have any lasting dwelling inside you. The word: shun is very relevant here, which means avoid deliberately. We may have to get involved in issues – that includes people and incidents – but no need to be accommodative to them. What about dealing with problems and issues connected with the society we live in? Well, classifying societal matters as a problem or an issue with respect to you is a personal call you have to take and deal with, accordingly. If it is a problem, confront it, otherwise, treat it as an issue.
It is quite human that we fail to differentiate between problem and issue. More often than not, we take issues as problems by failing to evaluate if such issues are critical to our intellectual and material growth. When you get diverted by issues and when you fail to unlock the opportunity in a problem, something called fate or bad-luck triumphs over you. On the other hand, when you are able to differentiate between problems and issues and brush aside issues but confront problems decisively, nothing can stop you from achieving your goals. A successful man who remains undeterred by issues but remains focused on dealing with his problems shows fate its due place instead of allowing fate to decide where he should be.