“Obey the terms of this covenant so that you will prosper in everything that you do.” – Deuteronomy 29:11

While having lunch with a professional colleague on Friday, he observed that I always use a biblical text to start my column which matched its title and content. He then asked me what was the subject of my column this week going to be and I said that I had not given it any thought apart from the fact that I usually draw on experiences during the last week and the daily biblical references in my diary to guide me.

I told him that the deadline for submitting the article to the press was less than 24 hours away as I usually complete the article first thing on Saturday morning. My subconscious was aroused and before the end of the meal I told him that it is likely to be on the topic “Research and Solutions” in the context that there were so many problems to which I was exposed personally, business-wise and nationally, in the last week, that there was need for a generic approach to finding solutions to these problems.

As I awoke in the wee hours of the morning I noted the text above for Saturday August, 27 and began searching the net to solidify my ideas for this generic approach and my topic metamorphosed to that which appears above.

I came across an article by Jonathan Wells from Advanced Life Skills (Strategies for Positive Change) entitled “Are they Problems or Challenges?”

I quote as follows:

“Like it or not, problems, or challenges, are a recurring part of everyday life. Whether you choose to call them challenges, as I do, or problems, certainly doesn’t change the fact that they happen. However, it does change the way we respond to them and that little shift can make a huge difference in our outlook! Subconsciously, the word problem says, “There’s something wrong here.” Our mind hears, “This isn’t right, life is not as it should be.” How does this perception affect us? It causes our energy to be funneled toward repairing something that’s gone wrong. Not a very empowering state of mind. On the other hand, the word challenge sends no such mental message. Instead of trying to repair a malfunction, challenges encourage us to recruit our inner resources and to view the situation as a new opportunity. This is a very empowering state of mind.”
I too, prefer “challenge”! It is natural for us human beings to be in search of prosperity in everything that we do, indeed this may be described as the philosophy of living. It is also natural to be influenced by negative emotions such as fear, anger, worry and guilt which militate against the achievement of our goals. The resulting challenges impede the path of progress and we need to empower our mind to address them by providing spiritually motivated innovative solutions.
The text above reminds us that we have inherited a spiritual legacy of success from God, it is a major resource and there is no better inheritance. We need to mobilise this legacy to the fullest so that the apparent impediments to progress, even though not always immediately, are emphatically swept away. 

We may set our personal, business, community or national plans but one thing is virtually certain – these plans will never materialise in the way they were initially crafted. The one thing that is constant in life is change. The challenges, even though they may not be precisely predictable, arise and we have to bring ourselves back on track to reach our desired goals. We must call on our inherited spiritual legacy and not be discouraged by material challenges, induced by conservatism, negativity, disappointment and fear. We should not be tempted by the easier but unfulfilling path to “give up”; we must persevere. We must exhibit the characteristics of the “eternal optimist”. It has worked for me for three score years and ten and it will continue to work for me. I shall continue to draw down from the spiritual legacy of success.

There is another website, the mission of which is simply to “explore ways to use our minds efficiently” and I quote from Luciano Passuello: “I firmly believe that our own minds are the greatest tool we have to achieve anything we want. Every event, feeling, problem or opportunity only exists through the filter of our minds. In a nutshell, your mind is the world you live in. All results you get are the direct result on how well you use it.”

It therefore remains for us to adopt the mindset that converts the problems into challenges and to look for creative solutions.

Doug Staneart has written about “Problem Solving Tips: Creative Solutions to Difficult Problems” and points that there are five simple steps from identifying the problem to implementing the solution i.e. (1) Identify the Specific Problem and Create a One-Sentence Description; (2) Determine what are the Possible Causes; (3) Brainstorm what are the Possible Solutions; (4) Decide on the Best Possible Solution; and (5) Create an Implementation Plan. The concept of Constructive Research by Hidetoshi Shibata complements the above.

With a change of mindset, the acquisition of appropriate skill sets and cross cultural communication skills, we should be well set to face the challenges ahead.

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET – Columns are archived at

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