Problems and Solutions

Business conceptIdeas and opportunities come disguised as problems. As I travel around the world and meet countless people from every walk of life, they seem to all be looking for the same discoveries or breakthroughs in their lives.

Among the most common elements sought by people is a great idea. People are convinced if they had one great idea, they could change everything in their world. This is true. We need look no farther than the business pages of our local paper to see how ideas can transform everything around us.

The only thing you have to do to put yourself in a position to have a great idea is to go through your daily routine, wait for something bad to happen, and ask yourself, “How could I have avoided that?” The answer to that question is invariably a great idea. The only thing you have to do to turn your great idea into a business opportunity is to ask yourself one further question. “How can I help other people avoid that?”

Ideas and opportunities are otherwise known as solutions. Success in life or in business comes when we can apply our solutions to other people’s problems. Lest you be worried that all the world’s problems are going to be solved using other people’s ideas before you have an idea of your own to bring to the marketplace, it is important to know that while solutions solve problems, they also create new problems.

Throughout recorded history, human beings have sought faster and better ways to transport themselves to places where they want to go. Over a century ago, the automobile was invented. Throughout the ensuing years, the automobile has solved many transportation problems, but it has created new problems involving safety, pollution, etc. There are solutions in development today that will solve the safety and environmental problems that the automobile has created, and once those solutions are applied, they will, in turn, create problems of their own.

The value of an idea or a solution is in direct proportion to the size of the problem.  If you have an idea to cure some rare, life-threatening disease, that solution will create a large opportunity, even if the disease only impacts a relatively small number of people. The opportunity is large because the solution is the difference between life and death. On the other hand, if you create a seemingly-insignificant solution to a minor problem that is experienced by the majority of people, it is still a huge opportunity because—even though you’ve only created an App to organize everyone’s shopping list or protect our cell phones or some other common situation—the number of people impacted is so great that it generates huge potential.

It has been my experience in dealing with many emerging entrepreneurs that opportunities present themselves regardless of where you are or what you’re doing. What is needed is an awareness of problems and solutions. People who will succeed through inventions and innovations in the coming years are those who don’t avoid problems but embrace them as opportunities.

As you go through your day today, remember that problems and solutions equal opportunity.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK  74145-9082; by email at; on Twitter at; or on Facebook at

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