All of us get into challenging situations. This might be a coding problem that we struggle to solve. It might be an argument with a co-worker. It could be feedback from a customer on how we dealt with them or maybe just how our app works. Our responses to a challenge might determine how we view the situation, our future actions, or even just how we react to life in the next few hours.
When someone struggles or feels as though they have failed in a situation, they tend to react in one of two ways. They can view the experience as though it were a test and they didn’t pass. This is quite common among many people, who might become sad, angry, or defensive. They might defend their approach or look for an excuse. They might seek to put the whole situation behind them and move on. This is a common reaction and one I’ve had often.
Like many people, I want to do well, and when I don’t, it can feel as though I’ve failed or I am being attacked. Whether because of my words, actions, or code, I know I’ve often reacted in a way that I somewhat regret. I will try to solve the problem better, apologize, or find some way to rectify the situation, but it still feels like some sort of personal failure.
The other way to view the situation is a learning opportunity. Things didn’t go well, but how can I improve things in the future. How can I improve myself, or what can I learn? Maybe, more importantly, this reaction often has the person looking for a similar challenge and the chance to do better the next time.
How do you approach a challenge? Do you view most things as tests or learning opportunities? I tend to view many things as tests, but I am trying to change and learn how to view them as opportunities to learn. When I don’t or can’t solve a problem, I look to find out how I can improve my thinking and skills and at least solve that problem in the future.