Houston, We Have a Problem

Rod Pickett
2 min readFeb 13, 2023

A problem is a chance to do your best.

Duke Ellington

Problems are opportunities.

They certainly don’t feel like that.

They seem to come at exactly the wrong time.

Sometimes it feels like they are piling on.

Maybe those folk superstitions were right about them clumping in groups of three.

It’s only natural to become frustrated and discouraged.

But humans seem to be made to solve problems.

Some of the most popular apps for smartphones are artificial problems for us to solve.

The reward for successfully solving them is to get increasingly difficult problems.

What if we thought of our daily lives as a series of puzzles designed to make us stronger, wiser, and more resilient?

When something goes wrong, it gives us an opportunity to exercise our creativity.

Most inventions were developed in response to a problem.

We tend to see problems as inconvenient interruptions of our lives.

Maybe we should think of them as challenges on the way to becoming the people we were meant to be.

But then there are those problems that are self-inflicted.

Our natural tendency is to beat ourselves up while deflecting responsibility for the mistake.

We tell ourselves that we should be better than that.

But we are focusing on the wrong part of the process.

Making mistakes is an unavoidable part of being human.

What matters is how we respond once we make the mistake.

Do we accept responsibility for the mistake and concentrate on solving the problems it created?

Or do we waste our creativity on developing elaborate explanations elucidating why we are not really to blame?

In business, it’s easy to find excuses for our slip-ups.

We can always fall back on, “There were supply chain issues.”

Even when we are the supply chain.

However, the fastest way to build trust with a client is to take full responsibility for a problem and solve it for them, even if there really were problems with the supply chain.

This works in personal relationships as well.

Problems are opportunities to build connections.

Shared experiences provide opportunities to bond with others.

Successfully surviving ordeals together produces some of the strongest ties.

Unfortunately, we tend to lash out at others when things become difficult.

In our frustration, we give ourselves permission to suspend the normal rules of courtesy and kindness.

Instead, we should see difficulties as reminders to be extra considerate of others.

A few days ago, my wife unexpectedly lost a good friend.

It was quite a shock when she received the call from the son about the tragedy.

A couple of days later, she received a second call from the son checking in to see how she was dealing with her loss.

Even though he lost his mother, he was considerate enough to remember that my wife lost a friend.

That’s expert-level awareness.

Today will have opportunities for us to move up a level or two.

Never let a problem go to waste.

— Rod Pickett

Now available at Amazon: The Courageous Heart: Wisdom for Difficult Times in paperback and eBook.



Rod Pickett

Rod Pickett is a writer, pastor, teacher, photographer, real estate broker, personal trainer, consultant, trained hypnotist, woodworker and life-long learner.