How to turn problems into opportunities?

To turn problems into opportunities we just need to change perspective. Saying it is easy, putting it into practice is a little more difficult. We are often so emotionally invested in the situation that it is difficult for us to assume the psychological distance necessary to realize the opportunities that lurk behind every supposed obstacle. Individual trees block us from seeing the forest, so we get caught up in the situation.

What history teaches us in relation to dealing with problems

It all began in 1869, when Henry John Heinz, an American businessman originally from Bavaria, founded a packaged food company at the age of 25 that would spread to over 200 countries. But his path to success wasn’t always smooth or straightforward.

In 1898, when things were going very well, a rival firm, the Campbell Preserve Company , launched its first brand of canned soup. Campbell’s product was delicious and three times cheaper than Heinz’s, gaining a huge market share. While Campbell’s sales soared, Heinz’s plummeted.

Heinz soon discovered his rival’s secret soup recipe, but even imitating it failed to succeed. Sales weren’t what he expected. So, with their son, they decided to change their perspective and approach the problem differently. If they couldn’t make the soup better, they could have made a better bowl.

At that time the cans were still sealed with lead solder, a highly toxic material that caused poisoning over time. Also, the manufacturing process was slow and sterilization left a lot to be desired. Then they introduced one of the most radical changes in the canning industry: the pressure sealed container, which not only offered greater food safety, but also allowed to increase production.

The rest is history. Over the next few years, Heinz expanded his business worldwide, far surpassing Campbell.

How to turn problems into opportunities?

  • Identify the problem

It may seem like a self-evident truth, but many times when we are faced with a problem, we are not quite clear what it is. Problems can be confusing and complex, especially life problems. Defense mechanisms work against us and can hide the real source of the conflict from us, especially when we are emotionally involved.

In fact, Albert Einstein used to tell his students that if he had only one hour to solve the world’s biggest problem, it would take him 55 minutes to solve it because when he knew the causes, it would only take 5 minutes to find a solution. . So the first step in turning problems into opportunities is determining exactly what we need to fix. And for this we need to identify precisely what the problem is.

  • Develop a curious attitude

Curiosity has no prejudices. It does not judge or pigeonhole. It remains open. And this is essential for solving problems or discovering opportunities. The story of Georges de Mestral proves it. In 1941 the Swiss engineer went on a hike with his dog in the Alps but when they got home they were covered in burrs.

At first, de Mestral was annoyed by the work required to remove burrs from clothes, but then he became curious as to how these things stuck so much to fabrics. He examined them under a microscope and discovered tiny hooks sinking into the fabric. Thus was born the idea of ​​Velcro!

How many people before de Mestral cursed the burrs that stubbornly stuck to their clothes? How many people dismissed them with contempt? When we curse, fear, or avoid problems and treat them as enemies, we blind ourselves and miss out on opportunities for growth. Instead, when we look at them with curiosity, a completely new perspective can open up before us that leads us to the solution.

  • Change perspective

To turn problems into opportunities we need to change perspective. This means stop seeing problems as mere obstacles and start seeing them as opportunities for change. It’s tough, but it’s worth a try.

Changing perspective doesn’t mean being happy with what happened to us, because usually it annoys us that they take us out of our comfort zone , it’s enough not to unleash a storm in a teacup. It means being aware that every situation always has two sides, even though we may not be able to see the positive one at first.

It will help us to remember that we cannot choose our problems, but we do have the power to decide how we react to them. We must bear in mind that problems cease to be problems when we stop considering them as such. And this happens when we realize the opportunities or lessons they contain.

  • Overcoming stagnation by looking for solutions

Sometimes adversity takes us by surprise and chokes our ability to fight back. After the first impact, we have to overcome the paralysis and get to work, because a positive attitude and curiosity are not enough to transform problems into viable opportunities.

At this stage it is important to try to open our minds and take an emotional distance from the problem. We can ask, for example: how would a friend solve it? Or we can brainstorm to find original and innovative solutions. We just have to take note of everything that comes to mind, no matter how crazy it is.

So, we must make sure that we apply the solution that seems most appropriate to us, always keeping in mind that there are no good or bad solutions. The right thing is what works for us and makes us feel better, helps us resolve the problem or conflict. There are many ways to get from point A to point B. It doesn’t have to be a straight line. We just have to get where we want to go.

It’s important not to get stuck searching for the perfect solution because chances are we’ll never find it. We simply have to put it into practice and adapt it along the way. We need to think more in terms of progress, not perfection.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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