Becoming More Resourceful…
We all know from experience that life is filled with problems. Day-in, day-out we experience them and deal with them, sometimes successfully and other times poorly. Problems are just a part of life — a part of living. In fact, would life really be worth living if we had no problems at all?
This is an interesting question because it brings up the idea of a Utopian society where everything is perfect. There are no problems and there are no worries. Everyone is happy, fulfilled and at peace with their life, relationships and circumstances.
On the surface a Utopian society sounds incredible. All the world’s problems have been solved and we can live out the rest of our lives in perfect bliss and harmony. It’s of course wonderful to think this way, but a world without problems is a world in a state of stagnation. Without problems there is little motivation and challenge. We therefore get complacent and accept the status quo. As a result nothing moves forward and nothing new is ever created.
Our problems help us learn, grow, develop and advance forward in a better way. In fact, all the advancements throughout human history have been made because someone saw their problems as an opportunity to do something that nobody had done before. These people took the initiative to solve a problem and created something new — something better.
Problems encourage us to think differently about our lives and circumstances. We are forced to break the status quo; to go against the conventional rules of how things should or ought to be. And as a result we gain new insights that lead us down unconventional paths towards a better way of doing things.
Our problems are not our burdens, they are rather blessings that help us create new opportunities to better our lives and the lives of those around us. However, to overcome your problems takes resourcefulness.
To understand the true meaning of resourcefulness, let’s take a look at a black sludge that had no real use for thousands of years. It wasn’t until the back half of the 19th century that it came into prominence as something that had value. I’m of course referring to oil in the form of petroleum.
Oil is nothing more than a black sludge formed over millions of years from the decay of once-living organisms. However, it’s one of the world’s most important resources today for one reason and one reason only: because we were resourceful enough to use it for many things in various ways.
Oil is used to fuel cars and jet planes, it’s used to create synthetic rubber, cosmetics, perfumes and even fertilizer. This black sludge has a great many uses today because we were resourceful enough to use it in ways that helped us solve a variety of problems.
Back in the day before we discovered a practical use for oil it was nothing more than an inconvenience — a dirty problem. A black sludge that stuck to our shoes polluting the land and our water supply. Little did the people of the time realize the value of what they were standing on. They just didn’t have the necessary insight and the resourcefulness to turn this problem into something that could better their lives. So many opportunities were missed because they failed to recognize the possibilities.
Right now, you are standing on an oil well of opportunities waiting for you to become resourceful enough to see them. Yes, I mean you! The problems you are trying to avoid may very well be incredible opportunities that can turn your life around, however because of a lack of resourcefulness you fail to see them in this way.
But how do we develop resourcefulness?
Being resourceful begins with curiosity. You must approach your problems with genuine curiosity. Be childlike in your approach and show a willingness to ask insightful and at times seemingly silly questions. These questions will force you to think of new possibilities that may very well help turn your problem into an opportunity you never expected.
Whenever you are faced with a problem, ask yourself the following questions:
- What happened? What’s going on here?
- Why is this happening? Why this way, and not another way?
- What assumptions am I making about this problem?
- What’s another way (silly way) I could look at this problem?
- What if this problem was an opportunity?
- What if this problem was a blessing in disguise?
- How could I use this problem to my advantage?
You are more resourceful than you probably give yourself credit for. In fact, there are only unresourceful attitudes, not people. Every problem presents the seeds of opportunity for a resourceful mind. It’s now up to you to grasp it.
IQ Matrix Maps
Here are links to complementary IQ Matrix posters that go into more depth about this topic:
- Becoming More Resourceful: Explores how to use creativity and ingenuity to overcome problems.
- 360 Degree Thinking: Breaks down how to use hindsight, foresight and insight to solve problems.
- Living Mindfully: Examines how to use mindfulness to help you make better decisions in the moment.
- Stimulating Imagination: Presents you with ideas on how to imaginatively overcome your challenges.
- Acting on Inspiration: Explores how to find the inspiration you need to overcome your problems.