Friday, 4 September 2009

Worthwhile problems

The worthwhile problems are the ones you can really solve or help solve, the ones you can really contribute something to – Richard Feynman.

We are faced with problems all the time – big ones, little ones, important ones and not-so-important ones. Some we ignore, some we get mad at, and some we don’t even recognise as problems. There are some things that we just live with – either consciously or unconsciously – because at some level we believe things “just are as they are.”

The Richard Feynman quotation is interesting – as a professional problem solver (more grandly known as a physicist) he had to choose where to direct his time and energy. There were many problems he could tackle, but perhaps only a few where he could really contribute something of value.

So it is with all of us, there are many possibilities for how to spend our time or where to direct our talents, but perhaps only a handful of areas where we can really make a worthwhile contribution.

Feynman’s quotation is really about choices – either proactive or reactive. What we choose to do with our days, weeks, months and years.

How we choose to make a contribution. Or not.

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