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We heard it first during what was to be the third lunar landing – “Houston, we have a problem.” That phrase was later made famous in the great movie Apollo 13, starring Tom Hanks. It is also used today when people face difficult situations. Often it is said in a light-hearted way to get everyone’s attention. It causes people to stop and realize that something has unexpectedly occurred and that things will suddenly have to take a whole new direction.
There is a problem, however, with the word – problem. It carries with it so much negative connotation. A problem is something that carries with it the idea of defeat and despair. Think about it for a moment. Do you enjoy problems? No one wants to have a lot of problems! Yet, most of us have slowly accepted them as daily occurrences in our lives. Well, I have some good news! I give you permission to let all of your problems go right out of the window and never return! Does that sound too good to be true? If so, consider this concept and keep reading!
I believe that we can change our perspective to see problems as challenges instead. A challenge is something that invigorates us and causes us to see things in a brand new light. We can let our challenges cause us to rise to the occasion. Everything great that has ever happened in our world was once a problem that irritated and frustrated someone. That is why it was called a problem. But, when a situation is viewed as a challenge it causes people to want to rise to a new occasion, to change things, to improve things. I think the word challenge creates in us a new perspective of wanting things to be better. It is when we face our challenges and overcome them that we shine the best in life.
There is a third level, in my opinion, that is even better than seeing problems as challenges, and that is when we begin to see things as opportunities. An opportunity is something that everyone looks forward to. You may think about the opportunity you have to complete your education, or the opportunity to meet that special person, or the opportunity to see your dreams come true.
Emotionally there is a different “feel” between a problem, a challenge and an opportunity. I believe with all my heart that an opportunity almost causes a feeling of excitement. It causes you to be filled with an air of possibility. It causes you to see the very best that can take place. It is the essence of which dreams are made.
Everything that is in existence in our physical universe was once an idea inside of someone’s mind. At the right time, the idea took on form and shape and substance. It was because someone was looking for an opportunity to better their own life and perhaps the lives of others.
Isn’t it remarkable to think about the science of technology and how computers and cell phones are a commonplace tool in our daily activity? Yet, all of that was in someone’s mind before it ever became a reality. Opportunity is truly a great thing because it gives all of us hope and direction. Someone saw the opportunity that everyone could make their life better through the use of technology. But, it started with an idea that transitioned to a problem, then to a challenge, and finally to an opportunity. The process moves from someone’s mind where it is intangible to someone’s hands where it becomes tangible and real.
I think it would benefit all of us to work on our mind-set when it comes to problems or challenges. The next time you face a difficult situation, just smile and say, “Houston, we have an opportunity.” Watch what happens to those around you. I think you will see a whole different look in people’s eyes as they turn the circumstances into something that perhaps will make the entire situation better for everyone involved.