Anytime something is not as though you would prefer it, you are dealing with a problem. Problems, though subjectively defined and internally maintained, are fundamental to how thinking, judging brains interpret reality. Your reason and your judgment are tools for solving the problems that are an unavoidable part of living. You can languish in the process of discomfort, or entertain yourself with creating a solution.
Ordinary people waste hours every day solving problems they’ve already addressed at previous times. They navigate their lives on fixed tracks, confronting identical frustrations, overcoming them just long enough to resolve their immediate discomfort. Familiar pain creates unhealthy comfort. The moment a man chooses to solve his problems not incidentally, but systemically, he frees his time and mind to tackle higher tiers of problems.
The timescale through which you analyze your life determines how fast you will progress on your journey. When you ponder the problems of your present, try to project into your future consciously. If any problem has occurred more than once, it will continue until conditions change. This is only possible when you are willing to take ownership of your life as a whole, not only your moment-to-moment stimuli. Then you can change the conditions that create your recurring problems. Then you can nullify their origins.
However, many of life’s repeating problems are beyond your ability to solve. There are always times when you are subject to the subpar decisions of other people. You live in a world shaped by their shortcomings and inabilities. For example, there is little you can do to correct the inefficient roadways that cover our planet. You can only optimize your own driving behavior, but the system remains fundamentally broken, and other people’s poor choices endanger you. Sometimes your only option is to avoid the problem altogether. Learn where you can cut these irreparable influences out of your life completely.
Question if the problems you concern yourself with are necessary. How did people function before they had these issues? How will they function when they are gone? How are millions of other people living without a care for the obstacles that chronically plague you? The fact that life has always been a certain way for you does not mean it must be so. A systemic problem solver changes the underperforming principles of his life, not the incidental issues they create.
When you’ve holistically addressed your life’s major issues, you’ll have many new hours to spare for other projects. A superior crop of problems will emerge to fill your time. You’ll have graduated to a higher level of operation in life as part of a never-ending escalation. There is no permanent plateau except to be perfectly content with the process of actively solving life’s new problems. It is the emotional peaks and valleys that make all progress possible.
Choose what problems will concern you. Resist the pull other people place on you to make their discontentment your own. Problems contaminate entire populations if we allow them. When you show discernment over which problems you ignore, you are making a profound value statement. You are displaying to the world what you care about and why it deserves space in your life. We are all defined by our problems, so be careful how your define yourself.