Houston, We Have a BIG Problem
In 1939, a student at the University of California, Berkeley named George Bernard Dantzig, arrived late to his class. What was written on the board looked like two half solved mathematical equations. Assuming it was homework, he wrote them down and went away to work on them.
He thought the homework was harder than usual and a few days later he apologized to his professor that he’d taken so long to solve them. Unbeknownst to George was those two half solved mathematical equations were in fact examples of two famous unsolved problems in statistics.
We have a problem, a big problem, and the problem is the “problem”. Confused? Excellent, because that’s what problem thinking does. Problem thinking means that what a person focuses on is the problem rather than the solution. If you choose, you’ll see problems all around you OR if you choose, you’ll see opportunities everywhere.
You may not be aware at how perversive problem thinking is. The word probably seems like it’s no big deal, it’s just a word, right? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on how you respond. It depends on your thinking patterns when you think, hear or say the word “problem”.
Most people spend their time in problem thinking. The problem goes around and around inside their head. It makes for muddy thinking and things continue to be unclear and unresolved for a long time. I’ve seen too many people stay stuck on the “problem” and can’t move out of it. It’s like a big red flashing light that signals that something is wrong, or shouldn’t be that way. It’s as if something is not right for some unfathomable reason. It conjures up thoughts of struggle just to get through it and no opportunities are seen.
When I think of a situation as a problem, that’s all I think of, the problem! My mind gets stuck. Quiet often, as if the problem was much bigger than what I could handle. If George had been told that what was written on the board was two famous unsolved problems in statistics, would he have solved it? Probably not, his fellow classmates didn’t. They most likely viewed it as problems that can’t be solved.
Some people get really excited when they come across problems, they make a lot of money from solving them too, because problems equal opportunities.
If you feel stuck; feel like you’ve hit a ceiling/ wall; or have found yourself repeating the same mistakes; or you’re not making progress; or you don’t know why something isn’t working then maybe you’ve viewed the situation as a problem rather than an opportunity that has multiple solutions.
Next time you hear yourself or someone else mention the word “problem” take note on how you react. If you react negatively then you’re probably engaging in problem thinking and you may need to reframe your thinking.
Article By Angelique Milojevic