Why we need hard, complex problems to solve


Photo by ALAN DE LA CRUZ on Unsplash

Biggie Smalls crooned that “Mo Money” just means “Mo Problems”. Jay Z explained he’s got “99 problems”… and we’ll leave that there. We sing about problems. We focus on our problems.

Do you face your problems or run from them?

A few years back, I hit a turning point after a few sequential “summers of suck.” After each hit, I wondered, “what’s next?”

In the last summer in the series, my dad died and then we returned in time to evacuate for a hurricane. In the literal calm before the hurricane, something in me changed when I realized, “I got this, bring it on.”

This was the turning point for a lot of positive things in life and business.

We’re often taught to dread and avoid problems.

I disagree.

We’re always faced with the problem of trade-offs in our choices, decisions, and actions.

We need problems.

Problems are our opportunity.

Solving problems fuels our growth. As we get better at solving problems, we get harder problems to solve. We know we’re making progress when we face fresh problems.

If you embrace solving hard, complex problems, you can build a remarkable career for yourself. As a leader, you can build the reputation of a team trusted to deliver recognized value, because solving the right hard, complex problems is the key first step.

Embrace your problems, fall in love with them publicly, and then solve them, increasing your value and your contribution.

I’ve noticed how this practice and embrace of solving problems and handling trouble has positively influenced my mindset, work, and life. It’ll do the same for you.



Michael Santarcangelo | Security Catalyst

Connects security to business results, helping security leaders earn recognition as business leaders who deliver value (and know security)