The Problem is NOT the Problem…

I love this saying, this is awesome! I like to say that Meaning trumps Data, and here, Captain Jack puts the same thing quite succinctly: “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.” When my clients get wrapped up in painful thinking about some “problem,” I ask them to be grateful for it, and ask themselves what opportunity exists in the problem. There is ALWAYS an opportunity in the problem, and if you can get past the often nasty wrapper, you will find an amazing gift underneath. Put one more way, if you are upset about something, it is because the meaning you have assigned it makes you feel bad, so CHOOSE ANOTHER MEANING! There is no objective meaning, you get to decide the meaning and if you don’t like it, have the discipline and faith to try a new one.


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I found the image on Facebook, it’s from the movie series “Pirates of the Caribbean”

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Dave is trained at the Coaches Training Institute and certified by the International Coaching Federation. He has worked with dozens of clients to achieve remarkable results, including revenue growth, clearer strategic direction, enhanced leadership, and promotions to positions of greater responsibility. You can learn more about him at or follow him at @DarkMatterCon, or GooglePlus.

5 Comments to “The Problem is NOT the Problem…”

  1. Amanda says:

    Love this! I appreciate how it reflects the experience of being coached by you.

    The question is how long you allow yourself to remain stuck in the emotional / reactive space. At the time it can be difficult to accept that the stronger the emotional reaction, the greater the need (opportunity!) to work through the emotional baggage.

  2. My favorite saying on this topic:
    Life is full of insurmountable…
    It was my signature for years.

  3. Joe Stefko says:

    Hello David,

    You mentioned on the HBR comment…

    “We are seeing an epochal shift away from the full-time permanent job, towards more consulting, contracting, freelancing and entrepreneurship.”

    I agree with you 100% and have seen in my business. I also like…The Problem is NOT the Problem…


  4. ntathu allen says:

    So true and timely reminder…I was struggling to deal with what I saw as my.daughter’s “rebellious behaviour” until a friend helped me to see my daughter as the young adult she is making her own choices and decisions abdaughter

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