The wonder of problems and issues

Why a wonder?  Because I see problems and issues as opportunities, but like many others I also see them as pain and suffering whenever I am immersed in the experiences they bring.

Why see problems and issues as opportunities? It is mainly though my own experiences that I have learned to see that way and I can distinguish two main reasons.

The first being that I have witnessed myself progressing only when I put effort into something. When I dedicate my focus, energy and time into that subject and endure it’s difficulties I grow and develop in the particular area of my choice. So growth and development comes partially through struggle, as if they feeds on struggle. Problems are the thing we struggle with.

An example in nature of this principle, that I can think of, are the trees on the edges of forests. Those trees endure the strongest winds and are normally thicker and sturdier than trees that are in the middle of the forest, because the latter do not need to endure the same strain.

The second reason, why problems and issues are opportunities is for the practice of critical thinking.  When everything is going “according to plan” we do not stop and question our ways naturally, but when we are faced with a difficulty we start to analyse, we must stop our natural flow as we have encountered a wall. The way to overcome it is by finding another way around or the energy to bring the wall down.  Nevertheless, to solve it we must be critical of our ways of doing things that led us to the wall and change them. And that is for me the most fundamental aspect of learning.

This second part I see very clearly in climbing. In fact, climbers call routes they climb “problems”. Often at the wall I meet climbers I have never seen before and we “work on a problem” together, discussing what are the best body positions to use in order to balance and be efficient in climbing that specific problem. It is critical thinking applied to solve a puzzle, something we struggle with.

Another thing I ask myself is “What would it be if everything was always perfect and I didn’t need to do anything or be challenged by anything?”. The answer for me is absolute boredom in the deepest sense of the word.

Finally, I think there are different amounts/volumes of problems and issues that each of us can bare, and for those two principles above to work we need to be supplied with the right amount of problems, otherwise we can easily collapse and wither, rather than grow. For example, this is very obvious to people that train with weights but also athletes in general – the right amount of pain and struggle will yield progressive results, whereas the other will either not be enough for progress to occur or if too much will hinder it completely and even bring deterioration.

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