Problems Are Your Best Friends
One way to avoid fear and other types of negative thinking and the bad
results that usually follow is to rename your problems by thinking of them
After all, the word "problem" is just a name we use to label an event
or a situation. The event itself is never changed by what we call it or
what we think. But your state of mind can be greatly influenced, one way
or the other, depending on your reaction to the problems you face in life.
The Chinese word for "crisis" has the same root word as "opportunity."
They have the right idea.
Many times, a so-called problem can yield positive benefits. A few
years ago I heard a talk that got me interested in eagles. Baby eaglets
are hatched in large nests called Series that the eagles build in high
places, on cliffs, on mountains or atop tall trees. An eerie is usually
quite large and very sturdily built. In fact, a small child would have
plenty of room to sleep and play in a typical eagle's nest. The baby
eaglets are totally cared for by their parents for several weeks until the
mother decides it's time for the baby to learn to fly. When that day
comes, she takes the eaglet to the edge of the nest and drops it into the
This, of course, is how eagles teach their young to fly. There's no
instruction manual for the little eaglet to read; he's got to learn it on
his own. But think of the situation I just described from the baby
eaglet's viewpoint. He's been pampered and fed his whole life in a
spacious playpen and all of a sudden, without warning, he's dropping
through space on his way to crash on the ground below.
Now this is a real problem! But he doesn't quite reach the ground. The
mother eagle swoops down and catches him, brings him back up to the nest
to rest, and a while later, tosses him out again. Pretty soon his natural
wing-flapping instincts are awakened and he learns what his wings are
really for. So, what appears at first to the little fellow as a problem is
actually his introduction to one of the greatest abilities of any creature
in the animal kingdom, the ability to "soar as an eagle."
Now, if you're beginning to compare the baby eagle's experience of
being dropped out of a nest a few hundred feet above the ground with your
own experience of learning you have cancer, what is the corresponding
benefit to you that would compare to an eagle's learning to fly? I believe
you will find that there are several ways that problems can be your very
First, problems or crises reveal resources within us that we never knew
we had. Resources like courage, determination, friends and a strong will.
And after the crisis is past, those resources are permanently available
for you to use as you need them.
Second, problems change priorities. The day before a person gets a
cancer diagnosis, it might be difficult to pinpoint the most important
priorities in life. But the day after, everything can be seen in proper
perspective. This is why so many cancer overcomers have told me they found
so much peace as a direct result of being confronted with a life
threatening disease because of the gift they received. They were able to
see more clearly where their priorities should be.
Problems are friends because they bring us ideas and answers if we just
look for them. They cause us to slow down and pay attention. Best selling
author, Robert Fulghum of All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in
Kindergarten was right about the last thing on his list of things learned.
He called it the most important thing: LOOK.