Mastering problem solving to realize your greatness

Problem Solving

In his book ‘The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness’, Stephen Covey talked about the existence of a gap “between possessing great potential and actually realizing a life of greatness and contribution.” He wrote, “We know there is a painful gap…between being aware of tremendous problems and challenges in the workplace and developing the internal power and moral authority to break out of those problems and become a significant force in solving them.”

To realize our greatness, we need to fill the gap by developing the ability to solve problems.

The first step toward developing the ability to solve problems is to develop the right mindset. There is a simple fact many of us overlook. We shouldn’t be surprised for being confronted with problems every time we attempt to advance. As we march forward to live up to our potential, problems come on our way ‘to test’ whether we are up to the task.

It’s in human nature to set goals. When we march forward to achieve our goals that is when problems start to arise. But, this shouldn’t stop us from having huge goals just because they attract huge problems. The alternative is not pretty. If we just fold our hands and sit at the sidelines as life goes on; well, we don’t need to worry about problems. They are not interested with people in that side of the fence 🙂


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The next thing we need to master problem solving is to embrace problems as normal. I like the perspective of Theodore Rubin. He declared, “The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.” Viktor Frankl, who faced a huge problem I cannot even fathom to understand let alone to overcome said, “What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.”

A tensioned life filled with problems is a blessing in disguise. Such a life helps us to grow and become better. I’ve witnessed in my own journey that my significant growth came each time I outgrown a problem. I strongly believe that each problem that we face collectively is also meant to take us to the next level of growth as a team.

For that matter, problems are not just normal, they are opportunities. Henri Kaiser noted, “Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.” Make today a choice, if you haven’t, to change your attitude toward problems, embrace problems as normal, and master problem solving to realize your greatness by translating problems into opportunities…

Like other abilities, mastering our ability to turn problems into opportunities is something we can develop and improve. To take our personal life and our team to the next level, we need to take our problem solving ability to the next level. Mastering problem solving takes our attention, investment, and most importantly practicing problem solving using latest tools, processes, and approaches. If you may have any question or interested to work with me in this regard, let me know.


Assegid (AZ) Habtewold is a workshop facilitator at Success Pathways, LLC. He provides workplace leadership soft skill workshops on themes such as Problem Solving and Decision Making, Leading Change, and other leadership related topics. To learn more about the other available Workplace Workshops, check this link:




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