Problems and pressure. If you want to develop your personal potential or the potential of your organization or nation it may be beneficial to find a few more problems and feel some pressure.
It goes without saying, that feeling forced isn’t usually much fun. Most of us would likely prefer to feel free to make decisions at our leisure. But very little of consequence is accomplished if everyone is always feeling comfortable and carefree. Necessity is the mother of all inventions for a reason and not perpetual prosperity.
Too much time spent at the country club or on vacation leads to personal stagnation and, when added together, national decline. Illusions of endless peace or economic growth will also inspire few to take action. Meanwhile, deadlines and a sense of urgency actually works to your advantage.
Duty and danger, for example, cause many to rise to the occasion and accomplish what seemed absolutely impossible moments ago. Personal limits are surpassed under pressure.
This isn’t to say that depriving or otherwise applying pressure to others is usually a good idea. Parenting, coaching, management, friendships, and international relationships require diplomacy and great care. Creating a pressure-cooker environment isn’t normally a good way of relating. Too much pressure and too many problems is counterproductive: people soon feel overwhelmed and threatened. The crank-up-the-pressure method is unnecessarily provocative as a standard approach, creating discouragement, resentment and little that is positive.
That said, very few people or organizations – not to mention entire nations – will ever reach their full potential without some form of outside pressure. Graduation is approaching, bills need to be paid, the budget must be balanced, the Barbarians are at the gate, etc. Action is required and decisions must be made – before it is too late.
Facing a difficult situation and even embracing adversity often makes sense. While some problems can be devastating, others will one day be regarded as friends. So invite them in. Allow problems to have a positive influence in your life. Accept pressure as a part of the process.
As you know, my home country, Canada, has vast natural resources, very few people, and limited capabilities in terms of national defence. At the same time, many of Canada’s major allies are presently struggling in a world that is arguably becoming a more dangerous place. Power is shifting. While this isn’t all bad, the reality is that global tyrants abound; dictators are a dime a dozen. And potentially hostile nations are arming fast. To make the situation worse, our fleet of CF-18 fighter planes is wearing out and will soon need to be replaced.
No, this may not be the worst of times down here on the earth, but it sure isn’t the best of times either. While my home province, Saskatchewan, is doing better than it has before, many other places on the planet are in rough shape.
Back to Canada. So rather than hearing politicians discussing matters of comparatively little consequence, it is now possible to listen to a lively debate concerning which type of fighter plane Canada should buy. Will F-35s be parked on the tarmac, roaring down the runways, or evading enemy radar beyond the horizon in the not-too-distant future? I don’t know. But I do know, that if our trading partners and allies were strong, if the world felt safe, and if our dated planes were good for another 50 years or so, we would probably continue to be comparatively weak and dependent as a nation for many years to come.
With fewer problems and less incentive to change, Canadians would likely wake up one morning tragically late only to discover that their resource strength and military weakness had not gone unnoticed.
As it is, my home country has been forced to grow and develop. I suppose it could be said that Canada is growing up. Rather than practicing our posture as sitting ducks, economic development is now slowly being supported by a growing capacity for self-defence.
Problems and pressure have a positive role to play.
Do you have a pressing problem that might eventually work out for your benefit? Is your country facing a difficult situation that could help you reach your true collective potential?
It has been observed many times before that problems can be positive. Adversity can work to your advantage. So let hardship help you move ahead.
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