1/10/06 I prefer problems

A friend wrote to me saying ‘Have you noticed how everything is advertised as ‘solutions’ nowadays..ie storage solutions were boxes in my day. Perhaps the catholic confessional could be re packaged as absolution solutions! ‘

She’s right – as I work in the business world I’m inundated with this crap.

But the positive thinkers in the business world (and everyone has to pretend to be one) are always telling us there’s no such thing as a problem, only a challenge. So if there’s no such thing as a problem, why constantly shove solutions at us?

I’ve never liked the ‘challenge’ mentality myself. A ‘problem’ sounds realistic, something I can get my teeth into. In systems terms, an objective plus an obstacle.
A ‘challenge’ on the other hand feels like a slap across the face with a gauntlet or a ‘you comin outside?’ – in other words my mental structures can’t distinguish between a challenge and a threat. And a challenge suggests a challenger – malevolent and swaggering – behind it. Give me problems any time.

2 thoughts on “1/10/06 I prefer problems

  1. A concept I find useful as an alternative to both ‘problem’ and ‘challenge’ is Robert Fripp’s ‘pointed stick’ namely something uncomfortable that you voluntarily commit to as a means of staying awake. It’s almost the same as ‘challenge’ but it has a point to it (oops!) other than proving your masculinity.

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