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The Problem Is Not The Problem

The greatest lesson I ever learned was this: I am a Problem Solver. Problem solvers look for (and often find) problems even when they don't exist.

The real problem is that most "problems" are not, in fact, problems. Without a simple framework to help us categorize different kinds of problems, what tends to happen is that people try to "solve" problems or "fix" things they think are broken when they would be better served by first understanding the problem's true nature. Rather than framing everything as a problem which, by definition, can be solved, it's essential to sort problems into the right bucket because some problems don't need to be solved, some get worse when we try to solve them, and others are simply too big to treat them as solvable.

From meteorites to mediation to mousetraps, we must learn the distinctions among different classes of problems so that we may focus our efforts and create the kind of world we want to live in through constant invitation and choice.


  1. How can we understand the true nature of a problem?
  2. How can we sort problems into the right bucket?
  3. What are the different categories or types of problems?
  4. How can understanding the true nature of a problem enable us to become better thinkers?
  5. Once you determine the category of a problem, how can you work towards finding a solution or responding in a way that serves you best?



Leezia Dhalla, Corporate Communications Specialist, Rackspace

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