Do You Have A Preference Or A Problem?

Most of us go throughout our days highlighting every issue as a problem.

Words are more powerful than you know.

They are one of the most important tools we humans have to communicate.

Communication to friends, bosses, and even ourselves would be nearly impossible without the words we take for granted every day.

Just thinking to yourself, can be uplifting or demotivating simply from the words we use in our mind.

And I’m sure we’ve all experienced a great conversation with a lover turn sour all from one miscommunicated word.

The negotiations you have with your HR manager can be significant or a dud if you speak with power words.

And that’s just a few of the many ways we use our words either for or against our benefit.

It’s no wonder one of the most powerful companies in the world, Meta, created success from controlling mass communication.

But the thing we don’t realize is that sometimes it’s as simple as a single word that can make or break our efforts.

With our words we can speak good things into existence. But just as easily we can speak problems, pain, and issues into our lives.

So today I’m going to help you find success with your words by answering one simple question…

Do you have a preference or a problem?

Most of us go throughout our days, highlighting any and every issue as a problem.

If the Chick-fil-A drive-thru is too slow, it’s a problem.

If your boss asks you to come in for a weekend shift, it’s a problem.

If your girlfriend shows up 15 minutes late to dinner, it’s a problem.

Except none of those things are really problems.

Or at least they shouldn’t be, by most people’s standards.

But to make it clear, let’s define the idea of problem.

I define a problem as the following:

  • A problem is an obstacle that presents an issue.

  • A problem is something that stops your progress.

  • A problems is something that has to be solved.

  • A problem is something you aren’t willing to tolerate.

Those are the ways I define a problem.

That means that most “issues” in my life really aren’t problems at all.

If my girlfriend is late for a dinner, there’s not much to solve and honestly I can tolerate it.

If my landlord gives me an eviction notice, I have a big problem that needs to be solved in the next 2 weeks.

So if it’s this simple to see that most things aren’t problems, why are we all so quick to call things problems?

We call everything a problem because we don’t know what else to call it.

And that’s just a product of bad vocabulary and underdeveloped communication skills.

That’s one of many reasons why schools think writing is the most important skill of all time.

Without good words, there is no good communication.

And every modern service, technology, and advancement crumbles into pieces.

The word we needed all along was preference.

You don’t have a problem with Chick-fil-A moving slower than usual today, you just prefer they move a little faster.

You don’t have a problem with eating sushi again tonight, you just prefer to switch things up every once in a while.

You don’t have a problem with doing overtime hours, you just prefer to have the option to do them.

Your preferences are things you would like, but you won’t die if you don’t get.

We’d all love our preferences but life goes on when we don’t get them.

And that’s a new way to see the world and the “issues” around you.

When you learn to present things not as problems, they lose the seriousness and conflict associated with it.

A problem means stop everything, we need to fix this.

A preference means, please keep this in mind, I would appreciate it.

A problem means I will not accept this at all.

A preference means I want that but I’ll accept this for now.

A problem pits people against each other and creates conflict.

A preference puts people together and promotes empathy.

These two words, are so powerfully different.

And when used in the right context, they’ll save you from lots of unnecessary pain.

So next time you find yourself with an “issue”, ask yourself…

Do I have a problem or a preference?…

In progress,

Tim

P.S. - Other WIPs love this post…

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