Life is full of problems. People act shocked when things don’t go according to plan but imagine your life without problems. Most of you are imagining life without your specific issues like paying the bills or getting a date.

I mean a world where NOTHING is wrong. Not just for you, not just for me, but for everyone. This is not life. This is not reality.

Problems aren’t going anywhere. When you fix one thing, something else will go wrong. These “wrong” things are the source of your stress. You could lose your job, get dumped, get robbed and beaten, etc. These problems disrupt your life and derail your plans.

But here’s the secret: You need bad things to happen to you. Getting blind sided by a catastrophe is a wonderful opportunity to improve. If you get dumped or fired, you likely didn’t see the signs. You didn’t see the signs because you erroneously believed your performance to be adequate. You didn’t realize the situation was not a good match. The other party did and they took action.

After you wallow in self pity, you ask yourself how to become better for next time. How can you be worth more to someone? How can you better forecast potential problems that would arise?

If you fight with a friend it’s for one of two reasons: there’s an issue that needs to be sorted or you’re not a good match as friends. Either way, you needed this problem to surface. It’s the only way you can improve the quality of your life and relationship.

If you can’t find a date that fits your criteria, then you have a problem. You have to make changes. If you keep finding yourself in the back of a squad car, then there is a problem you need to fix that will ultimately make you a better person.

This is why you should welcome all the horrible things that happen to you. Every problem has the capacity to transform you into something better. You should not go seeking problems, but when they happen–and they always will–then you get an opportunity to improve.

Really terrible things, beyond a reasonable degree. are going to happen. You won’t just get dumped, but that cheating son of a bitch will give you AIDS. You won’t just get fired, but someone is going to plant a brick of Columbia’s finest uncut cocaine on you. It won’t just be a verbal fight with a friend, but they’re all going to turn on you. How you respond is still within your control. You can use it to become a better person.

The inspirational list of people that used handicaps as a springboard to improve their lives and the lives of others is extensive. But for every Christopher Reeves, there’s a guy that overdosed on drugs. Problems can either transform or bury you. It’s up to you to chose which one.

The only thing necessary is brutal honesty and accountability with yourself. You must always ask yourself, “How can I have avoided this? How can I become better from it?”

Something will always be wrong. Show me someone with nothing wrong and I’ll show you a dead person. And don’t fall into the trap of saying that some people’s lives are better than others and their problems are less severe. All that matters is that the problem disrupts the individual.

“Be kind and lower your head, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle than you.” The specific battle does not matter. What matters is that they have a unique problem that is causing THEIR life hardship. The next time you have a problem, ask yourself how you can use it to be better and do better.

Learn more how about problem solving in my new book