Illustration of a man looking through a telescope at a mountain. The mountain has a path drawn onto it and a flag at the top

Life is a school, and problems are the homework. The penalty for not doing your homework is that the lessons repeat until you do. Everyone has problems, even the wealthiest get sick or divorced. There is no escaping problems, save by solving them. Running from problems never works; it’s a race you cannot win.

Folks, there is much wisdom in the truism that ‘where there is a will, there is a way.’ There is an effective, appropriate response to every problem. We may not like it; it may involve patience and being subtle or redefining the situation or focusing on the root causes v. the symptoms or even stepping back and releasing.

I do not know if I would go as far as Eckhart Tolle who said: “All problems are illusions of the mind.” (see footnote for fuller explanation). However, I do know that we humans tend to dwell on problems far past the point of effective analysis or solution creation and in doing so tend to pollute our minds. Worry is nothing but negative visualization and what we focus on expands and thoughts held in mind attract in kind.

The expectation that we can create a life free of problems is magical thinking. However, we can learn to use the problems as a pathway to growth, to deal with the situations life sends our way calmly and with ever greater skill, honing our abilities to craft solutions that last and thus growing in wisdom, role modeling the best we can be for all around us.

Closing Quotes:

“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” – Duke Ellington, 1899-1974

“Problems are the gifts that make us dig out and figure out who we are, what we’re made for….” – Tony Robbins

“Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.” – Tina Fey

“The problem is not the problem. The problem is the incredible amount of overthinking you’re doing with the problem. Let it go and be free.” – Marc & Angel


Only situations — to be dealt with now, or to be left alone and accepted as part of the “isness” of the present moment until they change or can be dealt with. Problems are mind-made and need time to survive. They cannot survive in the actuality of the Now. Focus your attention on the Now and tell me what problem you have at this moment. I am not getting any answer because it is impossible to have a problem when your attention is fully in the Now.

A situation that needs to be either dealt with or accepted — yes. Why make it into a problem? Why make anything into a problem? Isn’t life challenging enough as it is? What do you need problems for? The mind unconsciously loves problems because they give you an identity of sorts. This is normal, and it is insane. “Problem” means that you are dwelling on a situation mentally without there being a true intention or possibility of taking action now and that you are unconsciously making it part of your sense of self.

You become so overwhelmed by your life situation that you lose your sense of life, of Being. Or you are carrying in your mind the insane burden of a hundred things that you will or may have to do in the future instead of focusing your attention on the one thing that you can do now. When you create a problem, you create pain. All it takes is a simple choice, a simple decision: no matter what happens, I will create no more pain for myself. I will create no more problems. Although it is a simple choice, it is also very radical.
Tolle, Eckhart. The Power of Now, pp. 64-65

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier