One of the things that motivational speakers and the “positive manager” will say is … “There are no problems, there are only challenges!”
Whether something is a problem or a challenge can certainly in some instances be classified by the way that we view it. For example, if you are in business and sales are not going well you could say that is a problem or turn it around to so that this is a challenge to increase sales. If such a thing is viewed as a problem it can have a negative effect on the workforce whereas treating it as a challenge is a much more positive way of dealing with the situation.
Whilst we may all wish to be positive in our outlook it can be very annoying when managers no matter what the situation tell their employees it’s not a problem but rather it’s a challenge. Why is that? The truth of the matter is simple. There are some things that are indeed problems. Let’s illustrate.
Imagine you are in a boat at sea, maybe a life raft. Your fresh water supply has run out. Now imagine you are in that life raft with one of the positively minded managers you know. He says “Now we have no fresh water so this is a challenge”. Oh no, it’s not – it’s a problem. You have no water and there is no way that you can get any fresh water – this is a problem. If you were at the office and the water supply went off that could be a challenge because you should be able to go and get water elsewhere, it could be difficult particularly if you needed lots of water. However, it could be possible and within your control or ability to arrange.
The same can be said when it comes to our personal health. Some things are huge problems, whilst others present challenges but we must always be aware that people do have problems. We don’t want to try and simplify them to some kind of challenge. This is at the very least disingenuous and really does not encourage a person with ill health.
It’s good to have a positive spirit and taking on challenges and beating them is good as well as problem-solving. However, we need to be realistic and not sound stupid by minimising serious issues to some kind of fun challenge. It will undermine our own credibility.
How do you view things? Please leave a comment in the box below with your thoughts on problems and challenges.