Turning Problems Into Challenges


Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, a remarkable book discussing how our thinking can enhance our quality of life. He explains how a rich, strong, powerful person is no more in control of his consciousness than someone who is sickly, poor, weak, or oppressed.  The difference is in whether he sees challenges as threats or as opportunities for action. This is a very interesting topic, a discussion on how turning problems into challenges can benefit your business. What do you think?

There are exercises that can help you think better, faster, and more clearly. I hope you find some of them in this book. Go to Amazon to purchase your copy. Geez, that’s amazing, right?


The Autotelic Self


What he calls the autotelic self refers to someone who has the ability to translate potential threats into enjoyable challenges, and thus has an internal balance. The term autotelic self means a person who has self-contained goals.

And then some insights can change your life. Autoletic thinking turns problems into challenges to be met and learned from. It is an approach that will change your life if you practice it. Now, here’s the challenge for you: Will you practice it?


adjective: (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

Most people’s goals are shaped by biological needs and social conventions – things outside the self. The difference is that the autotelic self, or the person capable of defining things for himself, can also transform threats into non-threatening challenges.

This can be done with a simple change of perspective, a shift in consciousness: seeing a threat as a challenge you can overcome. Isn’t that interesting?


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Once you can do that, the steps are simple:


  1. Be crystal clear about the goal. Once you know the goal, you understand what is needed to meet it. Then, you can decide on a series of actions necessary to accomplish the goal. You can modify these actions as needed to meet the goal.


  1. Become involved in the activity — This means commitment. This means action. Whether things are going your way, you consistently take action with the next best steps. This demands concentration, commitment, and follow-through.


  1. Pay attention to what is happening. This means that the project becomes more important than your feelings about what is happening. Your concentration is on the project’s results. You invest your energy in the project. You are committed and involved—it’s about the project, not you.


  1. Enjoying the experience – the autotelic self can set goals, develop skills, be sensitive to feedback, get involved, and look past obstacles. The benefit of learning to be an autotelic personality is that anything that happens can be a source of joy because it is a source of learning and a step to the next goal. In other words, there are no failures, only learning experiences.




This approach to thinking can mean the difference between living life in fear or living life in joy. Developing autotelic thinking will allow you to transform random events into learning experiences that eventually result in success.

Life is change – by definition and for everyone. Seeing that as a challenge to be accepted, enjoyed, and built on is the “secret” to successful living.


Once you’ve purchased the book, you can read it at your leisure. If you need any help at all, please contact me for a Free Call to see if I can help you with this challenge.

Good Luck!


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