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By Michael Angier

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Is it a Problem or a Project?

We all deal with problems—some more effectively than others. And a lot of the difference has to do with our attitude toward problems.

The first step is to acknowledge we have a problem. This might seem obvious, but denial is epidemic in our society. If we don't admit there IS a problem there's not much we can do.

The next step is to define the problem. And this is where many people get bogged down. I've always believed what the great inventor and American industrialist Charles Kettering said, "A problem clearly stated is a problem half solved."

Both of these steps are important, but so is how we LOOK at our problems. How we approach them makes all the difference in the world in how quickly and effectively we create solutions.

Do you look at problems as something to be tolerated? Do you see them as a necessary evil—something to get through? Do you lament having problems and ask yourself, "Why me?"

If you do, you're living at the effect of your problems instead of actually dealing with them.

Instead, turn your problems into PROJECTS. Just the way you describe your situation can have a significant effect on the way you approach it.

Projects are more interesting, more positive and more motivating. "I have a project," starts a different conversation and creates a different viewpoint than "I have a problem."

When counseling someone on his popular TV show, Dr. Phil often likes to say, "You need to put this on a Project Status." What he means is that it can no longer be left unattended. It has to be acknowledged, defined and addressed. By putting it on Project Status, it goes to the front of the line. It gets treated with seriousness and with a resolve to get it handled. No longer can it be left as a tolerable, irritating, nebulous thing.

Action Point
Turn your problems into projects and put your problems on Project Status. As you complete your projects, you'll gain confidence and be better prepared to accomplish even more.


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Last Updated 10/20/2004