Seeing Problems in Terms of Solutions

Five Point Turn

John Lennon once said, “There are no problems. Only solutions.” I repeated this to a friend and she looked at me like it didn’t make sense.

Of course there are problems. But Lennon implied we should approach problems in terms of what we can do about them. It’s a practical approach. If you can’t do anything about it, there’s not much sense in worrying.

When a problem arises which you can do something about, instead of lamenting it, dreading it, hating it, or worrying about it, ask yourself, “What can I do to change or correct it?”. It’s much simpler, and takes less energy.

Let’s say you get a late notice for a bill which you just forgot to pay. OK, you messed up. It’s a bummer. Yes, you’ll lose some money on the late fee. Now, what’s the solution? First, pay it. Second, make sure you don’t do it again. And don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s unproductive and, more importantly, it ruins the quality of your life right now. If you are in a funk for having messed up, that’s laying problems on problems. Then you’re in a funk all the time. Believe me, I’ve been there.

Then there’s those of us who live to avoid messing up. My sister monitors every detail, every penny of her financial life, and she stresses majorly when the slightest thing goes wrong. It becomes the topic of the day. Forget noticing beautiful weather or smelling the roses. Nope, that problem is going to ruin the day, gosh darn it!

Just a few days ago, Will of ThinkBuddha posted a quote by Wittgenstein from his Tractatus which sounded similar to Lennon’s. “The solution of the problem of life is seen in the vanishing of the problem.”

So, give yourself a “problem labotomy” and just do solutions!

9 thoughts on “Seeing Problems in Terms of Solutions

  1. Great thinking … Garnet David.

    Me thinks that governments all over should view things like this.

    Find the cause then work on the solution. Me guesses the causes are perhaps are of are own making.
    hugs for you. :o)

  2. Yes, this reminds me of a mentor I had a few years ago who always said that every problem had a solution. And the reason I call him my mentor is because he actually guided me in finding those solutions. We parted ways when he told me that the solution to my pregnancy was abortion, but the value of his lessons remains.

    Also, about the unpaid bill- back when my house was a wreck I lost a bill, and when I received the overdue notice, I called the company and very sincerely pleaded that, as their records surely showed, I had never before in my life missed paying a bill, and I was horrified that this one was lost, and how could I pay it as quickly as possible (usually it can be paid via telephone). Then they erased the overdue penalty, and my credit report remained untarnished. This is the whirlingbetty version of a solution.


  3. This was one of those posts you find on certain days that speaks to a situation in the immediate present, and so is doubly welcome – not only as a slice of wisdom, but of timely wisdom. So thank you.

    I am turning politician for the awards season (hopefully it won’t leave me permanently tainted). I hope I can count on your vote in the 2006 Weblog Awards!

    I’m still in shock. When voting commences today, there will be a direct link through from the badge currently sitting on my site. At the moment, it just points to the awards site in general. Voting starts today and you can vote every day throughout, as they set it up that way to help sites with lower-volume traffic! I will be heading over each day to cast my votes repeatedly and entirely acceptably, which is cool…

    What’s weird and odd but good is quite a fair number of the blogs I love have got through to the finals in various categories. Just don’t ask me to kiss any babies. 🙂 x

  4. Of course the whole issue goes much deeper than that. The reason people freeze with a problem or deal with one less effectively is because of the emotions involved. People don’t set their emotions aside that easily, even if John Lennon’s telling them to.

    So in order to solve the problem of solving problems one must first figure out how to deal with the emotions the problem creates.

    Great post, very thought provoking!

  5. Desiree- Yes, that’s true, but if someone says to themselves, “What can I do about it?” as the emotions arise, they might answer, “Sit down, breathe and focus.” There’s always a first step, then a next step.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Hi,

    This post is something I need to remember … I tend to stress the little things too much in order to avoid the big things … first step stop breathe focus … decide what I really want (i.e. admit to myself lol) then do something about it rather than waffling.

    Thanks for the thoughts 🙂

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