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June 19, 2024

Problems And Possibilities

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I find that growth-oriented people who want to discover the very edges of their potential have a recurring problem…

They don’t know what to do next!

They aren’t clear on the direction of their growth, the most impactful thing they could be doing to improve themselves, or the next steps they need to take to realize their potential.

This is where I want to highlight the two directions that are always available to us: To solve the problems we’re facing in our lives or to access new possibilities.

This mirrors the two great motivational forces we have in life, which are the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. And as long as we’re thinking through this lens we’ll always have an idea for what we can improve next.

First let’s talk about problems. Problems are results that we aren’t completely happy with. It could be that we missed the mark altogether, or that there were issues in our process for achieving the desired result. In either case, a problem highlights that we could have done things better, and with that acknowledgment comes an opportunity for improvement.

Then we can talk about possibilities. Rather than thinking about what didn’t produce good results, we can think about what the next level of result we could attain is. This gets us thinking more creatively and more ambitiously as we build upon the foundation we’ve already established.

But if I’m being honest, a possibility is just a different type of problem. Rather than it being a problem of insufficiency, it’s a problem of missing out on the next tier of result that is yet to be.

Let's use diet as an example to highlight the difference: A problem in our diet could be that we aren’t meeting the standard we’ve set for ourselves around how healthy our meals should be. We can solve this problem by getting rid of unhealthy snacks, finding a few new healthy recipes, or creating a new grocery shopping list system to make sure you have access to healthy ingredients.

Now let’s say that you’re happy with your diet, that you’re meeting your current standard. This means that the opportunity for improvement is to think about to raise your standard for my diet, and understand what a healthier diet would even look like.

This takes you into the creative brainstorm of what’s possible for you in your healt - How a vegan diet might support you, what supplements you could take to improve digestion, or whatever it might be. The problem isn’t one of insufficiency and not meeting expectations, but rather not maximizing the opportunity that is your personal nutrition.

If you’re falling short of the results you desire, that’s a direct problem. If you’re looking to elevate the results you’re getting to something even better, that’s an indirect problem in the form of a possibility. Identify both in your life and you’ll always have something to pursue in the name of becoming the best version of yourself.

The actionable element of this is to become more aware of the problems and possibilities you have in your life. So let’s create that consciousness right now:

What’s one problem you’re experiencing in your health, work productivity, or mindset… And what’s one possibility you have in those same areas to elevate beyond your current results?

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