"Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems."
- Rene Descartes (1596-1650), "Discours de la Methode"
Ok, I promise this is the last time I'll use this quote... today. But I hope you agree that it's had a lot to say. This time I want to focus on what I believe is the real power of this statement.
Where most people see problems as...problems, Descartes sees problems as opportunities to learn in order to solve future problems. Taking a future perspective when solving every day problems allows you to create value that doesn't exist when you're just "putting out fires."
It's actually very difficult (a problem in itself) to create value without having problems to solve. So the next time you're confronted with an irate client, a prospect who just keeps putting you off or a supplier who forgot to deliver your order, just smile knowing you've been given a great opportunity to improve your organization and yourself.