Problems Are a Part of Life. Here’s Why They’re Essential to Your Happiness

Having problems you want to solve is a valuable life tool

Photo by Joseph Frank on Unsplash

“Max, we need to talk about your grades,” my parents told my 13-year-old self. “You’re coasting.”

To me, my parents were making it out to be a bigger problem than it was. Lessons weren’t that difficult, nor were they that important to my overall education. I was doing okay and frankly comfortable coasting.

It felt like an avoidable and unnecessary problem.

Nevertheless, I worked hard enough to get them off my back, and eventually, the problem went away. To my surprise, more arose.

In the following years, I had appendicitis, my first essential exams, and my parents divorced. After each problem died, another took its place. And so the cycle continued.

I left my comfortable home life and went to university, only to feel lonely there—another problem. But, as I learned, that’s life.

Life is filled with problems. Sure there are ones you won’t like solving, but according to Mark Manson, the author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck:

“True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving.”

When something good happens to you, the problems don’t go away

When you get into a new relationship, it’s exciting, but you have new responsibilities. You need to make time for your partner and ensure things stay fresh.

Once your current problems become stale, you seek new ones to solve. It’s one reason why liking what you do for a living is vital to your happiness.

Despite life essentially being one extended problem-solving mission, it doesn’t mean the answers are readily available, far from it. While Instagram and Twitter may have you believe everyone has everything together, that’s not the case. Social media is a highlight reel.

Instead, I, like you, am stumbling my way through life. When I graduated from university, I almost fell over. The biggest problem — becoming an adult — was thrown my way, and it knocked me for six.

Happily, I regained my footing, but not completely. I doubt I ever will. And that’s okay.

Learn to stumble your way through life gracefully. Nowadays, I have a sense of purpose. I write something new every day and at least have some direction. But that doesn’t mean I have a clear plan.

As Matthew McConaughey pointed out in his memoir Greenlights, life is filled with green, amber, and red lights. There’s no natural order — each will come and go. Figuring it out is a waste of time.

So, before you worry about not having everything figured out, remind yourself:

No-one knows what they’re doing.

Fake it until you make it.

Words in Forge, Debugger, Better Humans, & more. | A 23-year-old writing about self-improvement that interests me. | Get in touch -> maxphillipswrites@gmail.com

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