Somewhere along the road of life, I received an e-mail from a friend talking about the value of problems; that it is from problems that we grow. In looking at my own life and at the lives of those around me, I see it is indeed true sometimes our greatest growth and evolving occurs during difficult or challenging times. I also see the possibility of growth and development without the need of having problems.
Several years ago, upon realizing that I no longer was tied to my veterinary practice (I had sold it to pursue a career as a writer, coach, and speaker), my wife, Ann and I began exploring where we might live, since what I now do allows me to live virtually anywhere.
It was a wonderful searching process, in part because it didn’t stem from any problem — ie, there was nothing wrong with where we were living. We loved it in Greensboro NC. No complaints, just a possibility.
From that search, we ended up moving to the “Paradise Found” (for us) of Flat Rock, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The move was an amazing experience and a lesson in growth NOT stemming from a problem.
While I imagine most of us will always have an ample number of problems to use as fuel for growth and development perhaps, from time, we might choose to grow and evolve in really wonderful ways without the need of a problem to serve as the seed for that change. I realize that, as a culture, we are fascinated by the idea of right and wrong, good and bad, problems and solutions. Living in this mostly black and white world, it’s very easy to think that there’s always something wrong that needs to be fixed. Something wrong about ourselves, or about others, or about the general condition of life itself. But realizing that this is a pervasive way of thinking of our culture then makes it possible for us to think in new ways.
Thinking of what is possible becomes available when we first acknowledge and own that we rarely ever think from possibility. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes come from Alice in Wonderland:
“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
What if possibility and impossibility were simply two sides of the same coin? What impossible notions might you have on your own life today, not from a need to fix something, not from some problem, or even from a challenging situation, but instead from the realm of pure possibility?
For example, if you could indulge yourself for a moment to consider that your job or career is perfect just the way it gets, nothing that needs to be fixed or changed, then want might be possible just for the pure joy of it.