Make It Easy


Thursday, September 13, 2001

We’re lucky to
have the problems
our dreams bring

Every dream comes with a new set of problems. This is not a negative or pessimistic observation, it is just true.

For years I wanted to own my own business. I got there! I have just passed my 12 year mark. And the dream has it's own set of problems: finding customers, keeping promises, making sure the show always goes on. Then there are all the records and forms and bureaucracy to deal with.

I wanted to own my own house. I finally did that; a nice three bedroom with an office. Problems? You betcha: mortgage, new roof, paint job, fixing plumbing, electrical work, yard work, cleaning carpets and paying utility bills.

Then there was that book. Couldn't wait to say, "Why yes, I wrote a book." New set of problems? Yep. Published it, then I had to sell it. And where to store all those books? And what to sell it for? And how to get it in the bookstores? And now a new book. What to do with the first book, how to market the two together? How to do all the stuff I worried about with the first one.

Then, perspective hit:

Last week, one of my friends died: Seven years older than me. She took a nap one afternoon and never woke up. Now THAT'S a problem. Her death marks the eighth friend to go in two years.

My other problems don't look so daunting now. Suddenly, they aren't really problems, just riddles to solve. In a way, the problems are a maze you navigate to complete the dream. The effort is a down-payment for the satisfaction you get when you solve them. And they keep the game interesting.

When the problems seem overwhelming, I say to myself, "Well, my friend

doesn't have to worry about a mortgage, marketing decisions, finding money to re-roof the house, or whether or not she'll get on Oprah. And I wouldn't trade with her for the world."

Problems are just the price you pay for being alive. Thank God for problems.

Beth Terry is president of Pacific Rim Seminars.
This column is excerpted from her upcoming book,
101 Ways to Make Your Life Easier. Send questions
on management, customer service and other issues

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