Why is this a great problem to have?

My mentor use to train his sales and customer service agents to give something called the response before the response.

After a customer complained, employees would smile and say, that’s my favorite problem, and I’m the perfect person to help.

Jeffrey said this attitude helped diffuse angry customers and set the tone for a positive interaction.

What’s fascinating about this strategy is, it also works on ourselves. We can respond to the slings and arrows of ordinary misery by asking ourselves a related question.

Why is this a great problem to have?

Doing so will identify what puts us into an enviable position, framing our problem as a positive growth opportunity at best, and a chance to have gratitude at worst.

This question occurred to me once during a particularly slow day at the office. It was early in the week, half of the team was either sick or out of town, it rained all day, and the office was so quiet you could hear a mouse fart.

And as an extrovert who gains energy from other people, this bothered me. Work is way more enjoyable, in my opinion, when there’s a low, soothing soundtrack of white noise. Conversations, phone calls, barking dogs, music playing, and whatever other ambient office sounds might pop up.

But for whatever reason, that particular day day didn’t bustle like it usually does in our office. That’s when it occurred to me.

This is such a great problem to have.

Listen, I spent over ten years as a lonely entrepreneur working out of the house all day, talking to not a single person but the delivery guy and the coffee barista, both of whom thought I was a stalker. And now you’re telling me that I have the privilege to come into a beautiful office every day, work on cool projects, hang out with my friends and drink an unlimited supply of sparkling water?

Are you kidding me? You better believe a slow day at the office is a great problem to have. It’s all about perspective. As people like to joke up in the mountains, a bad day fishing is better than a good day working.

Now, cynical people might view my question as naive, annoyingly optimistic and out of touch with reality.

Fair enough. That might be true. But here’s something else that’s scientifically true. People who live under an aura of pervasive thankfulness reap the rewards of grateful living. It’s been clinically proven in the interdisciplinary textbook on gratitude.

When people focus on what they have, rather than what they lack, they refocus attention on unpleasant things as a source of benefit.

Sounds like a bet worth making on yourself to me. Next time you encounter a problem, ask yourself what makes it a great one to have.

Figure out how it’s an opportunity for reinvention instead of frustration. And you will put yourself into an enviable position that millions of people around the world would give anything to experience. 

Are your problems worse than you think, or precisely as bad as you think?


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