The excitement in life is finding the next interesting problem.
The world is full of problems, ranging from how to stay alive, to whether I want to buy that shirt, to which way up does this piece go.
As human beings, we are excited by problems. We prioritise them by emotion (equivalent to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) but once the urgent physical requirements are dealt with, we then seek out problems to give our life meaning by solving them.
The type of problem we seek out depends on what satisfies our personality. Some problems last longer than others. Some problems require different skills (organising a trip to a sports game versus playing a Haydn concerto). But it is meeting with those problems that we are fully engaged with life, and the art of life is finding the next interesting problem.
Some problems have clear solutions. Some problems don’t have clear solutions but we know that solutions exist (how do I earn some money). Some problems may or may not have solutions. My interest in life is working out what approaches may help transform a problem into a soluble problem. Often this consists of working out what the problem that you are trying to solve is.
People are very tempted to deal with problems is to apply a solution that they know how to carry out, whether or not it is appropriate to that problem. The more difficult and emotion-laden the problem, the more tempting to apply a pre-existing solution rather than look at the problem itself.
The first step in solving a problem is to admit it is there in the first place.
The second step is defining it.
The third step is considering whether there is any part of the problem that has a solution.
If there is, you have achieved the great happiness of having a soluble problem.
The next step if finding out if you have the tools to solve it.