What’s Your Problem?

In my prior blog “The Clarity of Sweep” I wrote about bigstock-Head-and-brain-gears-in-progre-29629286pursuing work that feels real, valuable and pure vs. pursuing work primarily for the extrinsic reward it may bring. It’s hard to argue with that, isn’t it?

But it can sound a bit esoteric and rather ungrounded. Of course you want to pursue work that is of value. The challenge is finding said work when the majority of us have to make a living. You take what comes and hope that meaning can be found somewhere in the summation of duty, reward and activity most jobs provide.

I’ve become a big fan of an app called Umano and the interesting news stories it presents. A recent story focused on people who make it “big” and the simple things they do to succeed. One tidbit revolved around the idea of finding, and solving, the Big Problem.

The Big Problem is basically the thing that plagues people, something they need or want, but remains unsolved because no one has figured out how to solve it yet. Steve Jobs was a genius at solving the Big Problem: How can I make managing my life easier? How can I bring entertainment with me instead of receiving it from a stationary box? How can I feel light and current?

The world is full of Big Problems. And, in equal measure, the world is filled with smart, creative, adventurous people able to solve them. Which begs the question: What is the Big Problem you are trying to solve?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in terms of work and meaning and value. How often can I look in the mirror and admit that I devote my time to this pursuit? Am I solving problems (big or not-so-big) or is my activity for its own sake? Because I know the answer to this question directly feeds to the level of meaning and purpose I am putting out in the world.

So, seriously…What’s Your Problem?



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