The way we see the problem is the problem.

Steven Covey in the build up to the seven habits’ introduction in his classic best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, mentions this quote.

He explains that sometimes we need a paradigm change, we need to look at the problems from a different perspective. People want quick solutions to their problems, they want to fix things quickly but they don’t realize that we need a new level of thinking to solve problems that are deeply rooted in our own thinking. This new level is what the “7 habits of highly effective people”  book is about. It’s a principle-centered, character-based, “inside-out” approach to personal and interpersonal effectiveness. “Inside-out” means to start with the inside part of self, then move outwards.

He gives an interesting example of how people fail to see things. Take a look at the image on the left first, you would probably describe it as a picture of a lovely 25-year old woman with a petite nose and a demure presence. But what if I tell you that this is a picture of a very sad 60-70-year-old woman with a large nose, certainly no model.


Look at the same picture again. If you can’t see old women keep trying. Can you see her shawl, big nose? If we continue you continue to look at the picture to find an old woman that I am describing, then we could go on into an argument. Now let’s look at the picture on the right. It is the same picture, but in that, you will see what I was telling you – old woman. It is possible that two people might see different things in the same exact situation because each person has a different lens using which they see the things. Until both of them are looking through the same lens they won’t see the same thing. So the real problem is the way we see the problem.

For more on this great book, see the Amazon link below.

                        The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change