The Pleasures of Problems

Problems are much bemoaned, but they also have wonderful upsides. 

I'm teaching a course on dealing with pressure this week, and was struggling to find a visual way to demonstrate the effects of stress. 

Then I remembered a fascinating article I'd read about Richard Nixon, and how his signature had changed from the days when he was elected President to the final hours of the Watergate scandal.


Seldom has the old saying about a picture being worth a thousand words been more justified.

I felt uplifted about finding the solution to my problem.

On a professional level because I know it will work, and make an impact on the group.

On a personal level because I knew a solution was out there somewhere, and I didn't give up until I darned well found it. 

And that's just one tiny, snapshot of my week type example of learning from having a problem.

James Dyson had to work through more than five thousand problems before he cracked the bag-free vacuum cleaner.

Many, many, many attempts were made to decode the structure of DNA before Crick and Watson finally got there. 

And wow, how molecular biology has advanced since. 

In fact, look back on all the great advances, from electric lights to the moon landings, and they only came about because of the determination of the great minds behind them to keep on solving problems until they succeeded. 

Problems, problems...

Not setbacks, not stumbling blocks; just steps on the road to success.