“It's about turning a problem into an opportunity”


Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
31 March 2024 Sunday 04:22
10 Reads
“It's about turning a problem into an opportunity”


It's about turning a problem into an opportunity.


The first step is to accept what you cannot change. Some problems have no solution. Life does not bend to our will, despite this, our instinctive reaction is to get rid of the problem, solve it as soon as possible.

And doesn't that seem good to you?

Trying to solve unsolvable problems only increases our frustration. You have to go from “yes, but” to “yes”, accept reality as it is. When it rains, it rains. You can't do anything about it, so you might as well change your expectations.

Okay: yes to reality.

By accepting problems we turn them into facts. Don't forget that every problem is always a contradiction between facts and expectations.

Acceptance is the highest form of change.

That is. My neighbor Ana became a widow a year ago; Her expectation was to rebuild her life, to be happy, and she has not achieved it. There are pains that will accompany you all your life.


Thinking the other way around is, instead of being left alone with the pain, choosing to also feel the love that you have processed for that person: feel it. Now Ana does not fight the pain, she surrenders and cries, but she is also happy for the years shared with her husband.

What would be the next step?

We have gone from “ya, but…” to “yes”, and now we will go from “yes” to “yes, and…”. With that “and” I add a new expectation, change something and create an opportunity.

Explain it to me with an example.

A friend's stubborn six-year-old son wanted to eat with his hands. His parents insisted daily that he use the cutlery and that led to more and more arguments.

How can it be resolved?

They suggested that once a week everyone at home would eat with their hands. It was pizza or fried chicken day, and since there was no longer any fighting, he went back to eating with cutlery.

Clever solution.

It is a counterintuitive step, because what you want is for the problem to disappear now!, but the omdenken technique suggests that you flow with the problem.

I don't quite understand how to flow with the problem.

During the live broadcast of a Dutch television program hosted by Paul de Leeuw, a spontaneous nude appeared on the recording set with the slogan “Stop animal cruelty” written on the chest.

Did you panic and go into advertising?

De Leeuw asked him to wait, that he wanted to interview him, and when he finished with the first guest he interviewed the spontaneous one. By facing the problem as an opportunity she managed to use it to her advantage. Instead of facing the problem, you let it face itself, this is the technique of thinking backwards.

De Leeuw did not treat it as a problem.

Exact. In most cases, when something happens that we don't want, we generate resistance, a “yes, but” reaction. Everything would have been very different if the presenter had started shouting “Get him out of here!”


Thinking backwards starts with letting go of the idea of ​​what should be and opening up to what could be. Unforeseen events add flavor to life. We have to be more creative with problems and not just want to solve them. And above all, do not go from a problem to a disaster.

Sometimes problems get worse.

It is caused by a fixed mindset. You have to understand that you experience a problem because you had an expectation. So the first question when faced with a problem is: what was my expectation? That is the fundamental part of the problem and sometimes we have no idea.

What else?

Know all the facts: what was my expectation and what is the reality. That is, don't be the problem. I always advise looking at the problem from above, as if you were on a helicopter, and seeing it with humor.

We see what we think, not what there is.

Exactly, we have to become familiar with different strategies to convert facts into opportunities. I propose 15, but one that I especially like is showing the problem. Elton John, for example.

What's the matter with him?

He had to put on glasses and they didn't seem appropriate for a singer, so he took them off to go on stage. Until he turned his problem into a distinctive symbol, his personal brand, wearing extravagant glasses. The problems are cool.

What optimism.

You have to embrace them because life is essentially this: overcoming obstacles. But I don't sell self-help or optimism; I believe that liberation in life begins when you accept that you cannot change reality.