The Quick & Easy Way To Understand The Difference Between A Problem And A Situation…

In Personal Initiative
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A young athlete told me that while he loves basketball, his parents aren’t too keen on the game — and thus, they won’t let him play as much as he’d like to play. 

The player thinks this is slowing his progress and hurting his chances of making the NBA. 

When then, he asked, can he do about this problem?

First, I replied, he’d need to realize that what he’s dealing with is not a problem. It’s a situation

***

You planned to spend the day outside. 

But, you wake up and see that it’s pouring rain outside. 

What can you do about this problem? 

Well, there’s nothing you can do about the rain. Which means, the rain is not actually a problem. If it were, there would be something you could do about it. 

Well, there’s nothing you can do about the rain. Which means, the rain is not actually a problem. If it were, there would be something you could do about it.  Click To Tweet

You can hope that it stops raining. But you can’t stop the rain. 

Problems can be solved. If something cannot factually be solved — like when you wake up and see that it’s raining — it’s not a problem. It’s a situation. 

Problems have solutions; they can be fixed. Situations just are what they are. You have to either work around them, or allow them to be your reason/excuse for failure. 

Problems have solutions; they can be fixed. Situations just are what they are. You have to either work around them, or allow them to be your reason/excuse for failure.  Click To Tweet

Being a 5’6” basketball player is not a problem: you can’t force yourself to grow taller. It’s a situation. Find a workaround, or find a new hobby. 

Being late to work every day is a problem: you can fix it by leaving home ten minutes earlier every day. 

The drawbridge on your driving route that goes up every morning at 7:35 AM is a situation: learn to plan around it, or allow it to be your late-for-work excuse up until the day you’re terminated for tardiness. 

The main issue with many people’s “problems” is that they’re not problems at all — they’re situations.  

The main issue with many people’s “problems” is that they’re not problems at all — they’re situations. Click To Tweet

Unchangeable, fixed circumstances. They are what they are. 

Here’s the thing: many people unconsciously already know that these situations can’t be changed — yet they label them “problems,” and even ask people for help with the problem. 

But, being that the mislabeled problem is actually a situation, it can’t be “helped” — thus, no one else can fix it either, and the person with the “problem” now has a built-in, long-term excuse for failing. And, look at all the help they asked/looked for along the way! 

Re-read the previous two paragraphs. 

Start looking at the roadblocks and imperfections in your life and ask yourself: are these (fixable) problems that can be handled — or are they (fixed) situations that I need to adjust to? 

Clarity on these answers will save you a lot of time and effort. 

I wrote a book called Ask Yourself A Better Question that will help you gain clarity of thought so you can stop running yourself into brick walls. Get it here: http://WorkOnMyGame.com/Ask 

Make sure to take the following MasterClasses related to this very topic  —  

#570: The Real Problem: You Don’t Know The Real Problem

#541: Problem-Solving: Going to The Source Of A Situation

#542: NEVER Allow Negative Situations to Get You Down

#287: Stop Helping Those Who Won’t Help Themselves

#1042: Stop Taking Things So Personally!

#1038: How To Get Past The Toughest Gatekeeper In Life: Yourself

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