Posted in Blog

Why Should You Be Actively Looking for Problems?


what is a problem

A problem, put simple, is the gap between what is and what ought to be. This means that: (a) there is an unsatisfaction with ‘what is’, (b) there is a desire to achieve ‘ what ought to be’ and there is an obstacle (or difficulty) to make that move from (a) to (b). Thus, a solution is needed to overcome that obstacle.

Screen Shot 2018-08-01 at 13.28.39

 How do we identify problems?

Based on the definition above, we can say that a problem is identified when there is a realization that our current reality does not match our desired one. The bigger the difference between the two, the bigger the problem is. Meaning, the significance of the problem increases as the unsatisfaction of the current situiation and the desire for a different situation increase.

Identifying problems is a subjective reality

To some extent, it is our decision and our judgement to accept or reject the current reality, to decide whether it is satisfactory or not. It is in our dreams that we build desired reality, which is something also we have some control over.

Subjectivity creates a utopian world

Now that we realized our perception of problems is subjective, what would happen if we decided to control that perception and just accept our world and reality as is, no desire whatsoever to have an alternative world. That means when the concept of problems does not exist, we will live in a utopian world. But do we need a utopian world.

Do we need a utopian world?

The answer to this question is, again, subjective. It depends on whther or not we agree that we all have a desire to grow ourselves and others, a desire to change and experience the word from different angle, each is enhanced and built on the other. So to answer this question, I would say yes we need a utopian world as an end goal that drives us grow, but we do not really need to achieve it. That is because the more we grow, the more our perception of what is a utopian world will change and grow simultaneously. Much like chasing our own shadow ahead of us.  Therefore, a perfect happy utopian world, will never exist. Then, what is the point of acknowledging problems and tackling them in the first place?

why should we look for problems?

When you are actively look for problems -with a mindset to solve them- you are adopting the approach basedon which all the developments in our today’s world happened. That is, development and grow are concepts that can not exist if the concept if problem doesn’t. In that sense, the more you identify problems, in your own life or in the world, the more you are participating in the development process even before providing a solution. This is because in many cases solutions are provided to the wrong framing of problems.

How do we frame and  conceptualize problems?

I have referred elsewhere in the blog to a crucial habit and technique to learn about the world and to define a problem before thinking of all the possible ways of how to solve it. It is the use of the questioning technique which stems from deep curiosity and desire to understand something from different angles.

What other techniques can you think of?

If you have any techniques in mind please share by commenting below.


I am Tag. A global citizen, lifelong learner and a free thinker. As a PhD student in HCI , my main interests fall in the intersection of cross cultural design and social change. Thus, my blog is focused on -but not limited to- this area. I have been writing in blogs, social media and newspapers for a while but that was in Arabic (my native language). However, being in the UK now and doing my PhD in English, made me consider starting to write and blog in English.

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