Challenges vs. Problems: An NLP Approach

We all face difficulties in life. It is only natural that we should, since in order to satisfy all our instinctual drives, the world would have to completely change. We make plans and go out into the world seeking to fulfill those plans, only to find, time and time again, that we are met by obstacles that prevent us from advancing.

We need an approach that takes these inevitable obstacles into account. The following system works for me.

I definite two categories of obstacle: problems and challenges.

A problem is something with at least one known solution, which is mostly within my control, which can be implemented within a known timeline.

A challenge is everything else. This includes obstacles that are largely out of my control or understanding, like the economy, job market, foreign policy, company financial results, and so on; but it also includes more personal obstacles like health problems, difficult childhood, etc.

Challenges are like permanent problems. I choose to reframe them as challenges instead of problems, because I do not believe it is good to dwell on problems that have no solution. This helps to program my brain to view problems are solvable, and trains me to dismiss as an irrelevant annoyance anything that I cannot solve.

With challenges set aside in their own category, we can confidently attack our problems knowing that every single one has a solution, even if that solution is just to wait for the problem to go away.

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