“Don’t pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”
— Bruce Lee
Let me guess. You’re currently doing your best to deal with a series of problems. Now, how can I possibly know this? Well, that’s because I am too, and so is everyone else you know and love (Surprise, surprise).
But what if we didn’t have to? What if we could just forget about everything and get instant relief from our struggles? What if someone came along and offered us a magic pill — Matrix-style — to do away with all of life’s difficulties?
Just imagine all the trouble we’d be saying good-bye to: The gut-wrenching worries keeping us awake at night, the never-ending string of bills to pay, the boring jobs we endure to make ends meet, the mind-breaking decisions we can’t make, the stormy relationships we continuously end up landing into, and the stinky, noisy flatulence we barely manage to hold in during office meetings.
Sounds like heaven, am I right? I mean, who needs problems in life?
Well, I do. And, believe it or not, you do too. You just might not know that yet. And before you close this tab in disbelief, allow me to elaborate on why your life would be pointless without them.
The hard truth about life problems and why you shouldn't actively try to avoid them
“We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.”
— Lee Iacocca
You will encounter problems in your life regardless of your intelligence, academic degree, economic situation, social status, physical appearance, age, sexual orientation, marital status, or any other variant you can think of. They are inevitable. And no matter how hard you try, you will always find them sneaking into your life, one way or another.
But hey, here’s some good news: Problems are also necessary to life. They are the driving force dictating the course of your actions and decisions every single day. Every time you perceive there’s something wrong going on in your life, you start doing something to change it (or at least, you should).
For instance, whether you love or hate your job, you do it mainly because you need to make a living out of something. Your need for money is the problem and your main motivation to look for a job and do what you can to keep it. But then, what if you decide your job is not what you'd expected it to be? Well, you quit and then you look for another one.
Need more? What if you have serious relationship problems? You take action and talk to your partner about it. If that doesn’t work, you look for advice from your friends and family. You might even seek professional help if the problem continues. And if all else fails and you realize you can’t take it anymore; you end the relationship.
Not convinced yet? Well, what about the potential problems in life? Things like car accidents, property damage, unexpected medical complications, or identity theft. What do you do about those? Simple: You get insurance.
See? You take action before problems even show up, precisely because you know they’re somewhere around, lurking in the shadows, waiting to bite you in the neck the first chance they get.
As you can see, there are no problem-free jobs, problem-free relationships, or problem-free study plans. All aspects of life are bound to problems, all of which demand a call to action from you.
Problems encourage action. Action generates change. Change promotes growth. Growth brings wisdom. That’s the beauty of it, and the reason why the pursuit of a problem-free life is pointless and useless.
The bright side of life problems
Think about it. You will rarely meet a wise, efficient, and balanced person with an easy past. Chances are, they have had to go through an unfathomable amount of trouble that molded them into the person they are today.
You see, when you change your point of view, those annoying problems turn into opportunities for personal growth and self-improvement.
- That horrible job you left taught you a lesson on the type of environment you don’t want to be in, the kind of co-workers you don’t want to deal with, and the sort of work you don’t want to ever do again.
- That failed sentimental relationship taught you a lesson on the type of person you don’t want to get involved with, and, in the best-case scenario, you will have learned not to be that person yourself. Hopefully, you’ll also have learned from your own mistakes during the time you were together.
- And, of course, that little car crash of yours taught you the importance of having insurance.
Now, there’s no guarantee that all actions taken in the face of trouble will promote growth and wisdom. As humans, we are capable of messing up big time when dealing with our problems. You've probably discovered that, when approached incorrectly, problem-solving becomes much more troublesome. For example:
- Resorting to physical violence won’t solve the communication issues in your relationship,
- Ignoring your responsibilities won’t make a bad work environment any better, and, of course,
- Deciding not to have insurance won’t magically eliminate the possibility of a catastrophe to strike.
It goes without saying that taking action requires good judgment and a healthy amount of common sense so you don’t sink even deeper into your own cesspool of problems.
So, the next time you decide to do something to deal with your problems, do yourself a favor and sit down for a while. Clear your thoughts, and consider the possible outcomes of whatever you plan to do, so that when it’s time to jump out of the frying pan, you don’t end up landing into the fire.
It is only wise and sensible to stay out of trouble. However, we cannot really avoid life problems. They're the push we need to stumble, fall, rise again, and learn. Trying to get rid of life's struggles not only is impossible but also completely pointless.
So the next time you're facing a big problem, besides focusing on how to solve it, ask yourself: "What life lesson can I learn from all this?" The answer to that question will make your troubles today worthwhile and meaningful. Live and learn!