Recently, I’ve heard the word “problem” often and it never sounds quite right to me. Seems like marketers have done a great job convincing people that every situation in their life is a problem that must be addressed. The most recent mention I noticed was a series of articles called “The Top Ten Problems Business Owners’ Face.”

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The word “problem” can be defined as “a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome” or “a thing difficult to achieve or accomplish.”

In the first definition, when is “a matter or situation unwelcome or harmful?” In reality each of us in control of how we perceive matters and situations and how we react to them. The truth is, we have a choice. We have a choice to see matters and situations anyway we want to see them. You can choose to NOT judge matters and situations as welcome or unwelcome, harmful or not harmful. In the name of freedom, you can choose to accept things as they are.

The last part of the first definition “and needing to be dealt with or overcome” implies that “problems” require a response. If you choose to not react to “matters and situations”, then you are free to NOT respond to them if you so choose. This definition, and popular connotation, imply struggle, specifically the struggle to survive.

The last definition implies that “things are difficult to achieve or accomplish.” Many choose to believe life is difficult, that it’s hard to survive – in this world, in this economy, in this age. “Struggle” is defined as “make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction.” Consider that the restraint or constriction gets tighter and tighter the more you struggle. Freedom comes with dropping the struggle, simply letting it go. Do you believe that one must struggle to survive? Can you believe, just for a moment, that struggle is unnecessary? How do you feel? Do you feel free?

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word problem can be traced back to the Greek word “problema” – meaning a task, that which is proposed, or a question. There isn’t a hint of struggle, difficulty or survival in those definitions. In the late 14th century, the Old French word problème meant “a difficult question proposed for solution.” So when is a question or solution difficult? When you don’t know the answer!

Perhaps all questions are easy and a belief that the question is difficult is standing in the way of a solution. All difficulties not not be perceived as problems. By definition problems need to be solved (dealt with and overcome,) often with great struggle. Can difficulties be resolved if you don’t see them as problems? That’s what I believe. I believe you don’t have to do anything; that life doesn’t have to be dealt with. You can just be. Often, difficulties resolve if you’re willing to accept things as they are. Just try it and see what happens.

Here’s one way to do that. Opportunity is “a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.” In my words an opportunity is “a chance to help someone.” So, given the same set of circumstances, matter or situation, if you can look at it as an opportunity instead of seeing it as a problem, you can unlock the keys to possibility (tune in for more on possibility in a future post.) Practice seeing situations as opportunities full of possibility instead of as problems requiring response and reaction. Then, all you have to do is decide which possibilities are a good fit for what you want to create.

It’s another way of seeing the world. If you see problems, they exist. If you see opportunities, they exist. So, if you believe there are no problems, then there are no problems. That frees you to create the life you want. (I’ll be discussing the art of creating in a future post.) In the meantime, make a choice to drop the struggle and let life be easy. It’s your choice. If you want to further explore these concepts of opportunity, possibility, creativity and freedom let me know. I’m free to help.