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"Opposition is a natural part of life. Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition - such as lifting weights - we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.”

– Stephen Covey, author of the best-selling and highly-regarded book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”

“Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.” -  General George S. Patton, American General in World War I and II, 1885-1945

Yes, you can find lots of quotes, sayings and advice on how to treat problems – as opportunities for success or as necessary obstacles to overcome in order to achieve your goals. It is no secret that problem avoidance is usually shunned and discouraged in most self-improvement courses, books and even TV shows.

Yes… you may read all the self-improvement books you want, enroll in every motivational seminar you can or listen to all advice coming from life coaches until you drop to sleep (after which you wake up and then continue listening) but until you change your semantics, language and choice of words; you’ll change back into your default self – not treating problems as opportunities and worse, avoiding them at all possible cost.

The Mindshift

And so, I propose a solution to end all problems about how to treat problems… STOP USING THE WORD “PROBLEM”… in fact, you should eliminate the word “problem” from your personal dictionary; in the alternative, every time you have a “problem”, YOU SHOULD NEVER CALL IT A “PROBLEM” BUT INSTEAD CALL IT A “CHALLENGE”.

“Challenge” vs. “Problem”


Using the word Problem

Using the word Challenge

Line of thinking

People think and talk about problems – the undesirable situation.

Challenges are accepted and how to overcome them are thought of and talked about.


People react negatively initially by first ranting on how “big” their problem is and how fucked up the situation is

People react positively immediately by looking for ways to overcome the challenge that was accepted.

Focus of thinking

People usually think about the undesirable situations that have arisen because of the “problem”. Many would even usually rant about how unlucky they are because of the “problem”.

Simply put, the focus is on the undesirable situation (the “problem”).

By using the word “challenge”, people focus their thinking on transforming or improving the current situation into a favourable one.

Simply put, the focus is immediately on the solution.


Negative anchor – if you have problems, it means you’re on your way “down”.

Positive Anchor – if you have challenges, you are on your way “up”.

Type of People

Losers have problems.

Champions have “challenges” or for others, “challengers”.




You don’t even have to read self-improvement books, take courses or listen to countless and numerous advice about how to treat problems… ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS SUBSTITUTE THE WORD “CHALLENGE” FOR THE WORD “PROBLEM”.That’s one simple change, but has the same effect as all those self-improvement, motivational classes and books that focus on overcoming problems.


  • Instead of saying "I have a problem...", say "I have a challenge".
  • Instead of say "The problem with this situation is...", say "The challenge in this situation is...".
  • Instead of saying "The problem with my family is...", say "The challenge with my family is...".
  • Or instead of saying "My problem at work is...", say "My challenge at work is" 

Champion Mindset

That’s how champions think. They don’t think about problems… they take on all challenges! Champions have challenges while losers have problems. Whose side do you want to be on – are you a champion or are you a loser?

For the last time, I repeat – instead of using the word “problem”, use the word “challenge” instead. Never use the word “problem” ever. There’s a big “problem” about that word.


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