Look for the Hidden Good and 3 Other Ways to React to Problems

UPDATED: May 12, 2022
PUBLISHED: May 9, 2022
Look for the Hidden Good and 3 Other Ways to React to Problems

It is not what happens to you that counts. It is how you react to what happens to you—especially when there are unexpected problems. 

Here are four things you can do to ensure that your attitude is the very best it can be, no matter the circumstance:

1. Focus on the future.

Whatever challenges you face, focus on the future rather than on the past. Instead of worrying about who did what and who is to blame, focus on where you want to be and what you want to do. Create a clear mental image of your ideal successful future and then take action to begin moving in that direction. Focus your mind, thoughts and mental images on the future. 

2. Think about the solution.

Whenever you’re faced with a difficulty, focus on the solution rather than on the problem. Think and talk about the ideal solution to the obstacle or setback rather than wasting time rehashing and reflecting on the problem. Solutions are inherently positive, whereas problems are inherently negative.

Take some time to write out every detail of the problem, and then take the most logical next step to solve it. The instant that you begin thinking in terms of solutions, you become a positive and constructive human being. 

3. Look for the good.

Assume that something good is hidden within each difficulty or challenge. Norman Vincent Peale, a major proponent of positive thinking, once said, “Whenever God wants to give us a gift, he wraps it up in a problem.” The bigger the gift you have coming, the bigger the problem you will receive. But the wonderful thing is that if you look for the gift, you will always find it. 

4. Seek the lesson.

Assume that whatever situation you are facing at the moment is exactly the right situation you ultimately need to be successful. This situation has been sent to you to help you learn something, to help you become better, to help you expand and grow. 

So seek the valuable lesson in every adversity. Make a list of every idea or insight you can gain from every setback or difficulty. 

A positive mental attitude is indispensable to your success. You can be as positive as you want to be if you will simply think about the future and look for the good. If you do what other successful people do, if you use your mind to exert mental control over the situation, you will be positive, cheerful and reap the benefits enjoyed by all successful people. 

This article was published in October 2015 and has been updated. Photo by @ebelodedova/Twenty20

Brian Tracy is chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a best-selling author of more than 70 books, and a professional speaker.