Duke Ellington: 'A Problem Is A Chance For You To Do Your Best'

This quote, from jazz legend Duke Ellington, takes an overused idea and turns it into some serious motivation, pushing you to do your best no matter the circumstances.

Image: Eli Christman.

There are many sayings that hit on this same idea, and they've almost become cliché at this point: "Every problem is an opportunity", "when life gives you lemons", and so on. What I like about this quote is that it gives you a bit of a boost by going beyond the cliché: it's not just an opportunity to succeed, but to kick arse at it. After all, don't you feel a lot more successful when you beat the odds than when everything's going your way?

A Problem [Swissmiss]


    My life doesn't contain many problems that are reasonably solvable. I guess that's because I'm good enough at problem solving that things others might consider problems are just "life" to me. When I do hit a problem, it tends to be pretty insoluable. Often the best recourse is to walk away from whatever the issue is (pay the fine, pay off the greedy landlord who insists on a huge damages bill you really didn't earn, give up on the job, etc.) So no, as far as my life goes, a problem isn't an opportunity to do my best -- it's only a distraction from other opportunities to do my best, and the best course of action for me is to simply get rid of the problem even if it comes at a cost in cash, self esteem or whatever, to me, to get rid of it.

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