Byron's Babbles

Problem Versus Challenge

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on February 27, 2023

Rachel Pedersen discussed “problem mindset” versus “challenge mindset” in her great book, Unfiltered: Proven Strategies To Start And Grow Your Business By Not Following The Rules. We all know how important our mindset is in everything we do. For me, the challenge mindset is about seeing opportunities. Sort of like when instead of just seeing a gum wrapper, MacGyver sees an opportunity to get out of a life threatening situation. He is seeing the situation as a challenge instead of a problem. In fact, in Owning Up To Our Mistakes, I blogged about an early mentor of mine that taught me to see problems as opportunities. As he would say, “We’ve got an opportunity.” I never heard him say problem, obstacle, or challenge. And, framed as opportunities they always became just that – opportunities for growth and success.

By having a mindset that sees challenges instead of problems we see these opportunities as jumping-off points for growth and for enlargement of our existing abilities. I loved where Rachel went with this by discussing challenges as chances to grow and learn new things. One of the things I love about owning my own business right now is how every new thing I take on has given me to opportunity to learn in new areas I had never dreamed of. It’s exhilarating, really. Just like MacGyver, we need to see challenges not as problems or forces of opposition, but as opportunities. Those opportunities enable us to learn, grow, improve, or adjust in a way that leaves them better off than before the problem existed.


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