Two interesting types of challenges we face are those that get us up in the morning, ready to go, anxious to face the day and get something accomplished and those that cause us to lie awake at night, worrying about how to approach some problem or issue, remembering things that should have been done but weren’t, wondering how in the world we are going to get the things done that need to be done. And the interesting thing about these two types of challenges is that the same exact situation can be a challenge of the first type for one person and a challenge of the second type for another. So, I have concluded that when I find myself facing a challenge of the second type, the problem is not with the challenge but with me.
There are also, I think, two basic personality types. One thrives on chaos, always looking for a problem to solve, a fire to put out, someone to counsel. Such a person is generally reactive and, if well trained and competent, is exactly the kind of person you want on your side when crises occur. Such persons use the Red Adair system of management, experts at putting out fires that shouldn’t have happened.
The other basic personality type is the planner, the problem preventer, the person who always wants to have everything in place and a contingency for any problem that might arise unexpectedly. This person is proactive, always living in the future, planning and organizing to try to make sure all works well. This is not a person you want in charge when crises occur because this person does not use the Red Adair system well.
Both personality types, and all in between, are needed, of course, because of two fundamental truths:
- Prevention of problems is always better than detection, compensation, and correction.
- Not all problems can be prevented.
My conclusion from all that is that one key to happiness and success is to make sure that the types of challenges we volunteer to face are consistent with our personality types and capabilities. Then we can all get a good night’s sleep and wake up ready to face the day.