Aside

Cherish The Toughie

“My start-up is creating a new market.”

“The new market project is taking tons of cycles to get off the ground.”

“I’ve gotta get a new job; my boss is psycho!”

“My daughter just turned 13 — the teenage years!”
Toughie

 

Any of these sentences could be seen as a problem. Or they could be seen as just a… challenge. How we view it shapes the energy we bring to it. 
When we were children, we didn’t view walking as a negative thing and we didn’t sigh with disgust and treat it like chore,. Instead, it was something we were curious about and so we learned how to do it. The adult version of our first steps looks like the list this post started with…and yet we often respond like children, with a “waaah, waaah, waaah”, kind of response.

Challenges are the things that stretch us, and help us to grow. At first we don’t know if we can do it, but then we do. Challenges are the resistance to the muscle of boredom and antiquity. 
Maybe we want easy problems. Easy problems are ones that have already been solved. Easy problems can be automated. They can be defined clearly, solved linearly and rarely involve messy stuff, like people. We want and need some easy stuff of course, otherwise, every day would be a slog. But wouldn’t a full diet of easy problems be … bland? 
Tough conditions, gnarly situations, complex problems…these are the ways we grow as people. They will require you to bring in your creativity to define the market, or grow your communication skills to lead the change, or demand you figure out where/how you best want to work, or to find more compassion for that hormonal 13-year-old sitting on your couch. 
Let’s stop the whining and cherish the Toughie.

We’re all lucky to have them.

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3 Responses:

  1. Swarna Podila. February 2, 2011 at 11:19 pm  |  

    Great post!! Must-read for all of us!

    Reply
  2. GerberRob. February 3, 2011 at 7:15 pm  |  

    My wife married a Toughie…she needs to see this.

    Reply
  3. Nilofer Merchant. February 3, 2011 at 7:19 pm  |  

    Rob, my husband married a toughie, too. Hopefully neither of us is so hard that it’s a full-time toughie, cause that would be no fun either, right?

    Reply

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