Problems vs. Opportunities

Problems vs. Opportunities

Are you facing a difficult situation?  Do you see a problem in front of you?  Does it all seem too difficult to overcome?  What you see as a problem could actually be an opportunity.  It is possible to turn problems into opportunities – it happens here every day at SVdP.

SVdP volunteers at our Homeless Help Centers serve our brothers and sisters facing the most difficult circumstances.  We do our best to give those who are persistently unstably housed what they need to survive along with a good dose of compassion and care.  In turn, they give us a sense of purpose and a chance to live out our faith; all involved gain hopefulness.  Problem turned into a solution.

Here is one example of that positive outcome:

“Ken” stopped by SVdP’s Homeless Help Center to say hi and thank you. It wasn’t that long ago that he was a guest, but that day he wasn’t there for services.  Ken came by to say thanks for all that SVdP did for him. He proudly shared that he has been working for over a year and was sincerely grateful for all the help he received from SVdP. As a way of giving thanks for his blessings, Ken is now a Eucharistic minister at his church.

Being kind to others and being grateful for what we have alters our perspective and therefore our reality.  What we may initially see as a problem – the car needs a repair, is really an opportunity to be grateful that we have a car!  I have the flu = problem; no one in my family is sick in the hospital = gratitude. (Plus, once you get through a rough patch, you’ve built up immunity for the next.)

Science backs us up in the benefits of turning toward gratitude.  Research has shown that gratitude enhances our quality of life. The results of the study by psychologists, Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis, indicated that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism, and energy. Plus, those in the gratitude group experienced less depression and stress and were more likely to help others.

“Goodness is the only investment that never fails.” Henry David Thoreau would agree that turning a problem into an opportunity for goodness and gratitude is a winning formula.

Problems are challenges to overcome; they are opportunities to be grateful, to give back, to help someone, to learn, to change our perspective, to influence a positive cycle of compassion and giving.  It’s like turning lemons into not just lemonade, but a fruitful harvest of refreshing contentment.

If you want to help turn problems into opportunities, especially for families facing homelessness, please consider supporting, SVdP’s signature fundraising event, and “Eat Your Heart Out.”  The event benefits the invisible poor and hungry served by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of San Mateo County and will help “Keep the Porch Light On” supporting SVdP’s Peninsula Family Resource Center – keeping families housed.

Thank you for making grateful opportunities a winning strategy!