The Difference Between an Inconvenience and a Problem

Webster defines an inconvenience like this:

Inconvenience -Trouble or difficulty caused to one’s personal requirements or comfort: “the inconvenience of having to change trains”.

It defines the word problem like this:

Problem – A matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.

In our microwave world, we have gotten used to having everything right when we need it. We can have a turkey dinner with cranberry sauce stuffing and gravy (a delicacy that used to take hours of time and preparation) in less than 7 minutes. We can use technology to buy a book or a song and have it delivered within mere seconds, when a trip to a bookstore or the mall would of taken an hour. In the time, it used to take to put the stamp on a letter, we can send an e-mail message to someone in another city, state or country. Before we can even reach the post office the message could have been read and replied to, all in a matter of minutes. Things have changed, and attitudes have changed, as well. As a matter of a fact, things have become so quick and expedient we get frustrated or angry when we actually have to wait for something. We are constantly looking for new ways to get things faster, better, new and improved.

This has lead to people identifying everything as a problem that has to be fixed or solved when that is not necessarily the case. There is a difference between an inconvenience and a problem. An inconvenience is when you go to the store and can’t find what you need and then you have to go somewhere else to look for it. Where a problem would be not even having the money to buy what you need. An example of an inconvenience is going into your refrigerator and not being able to find something you want to eat, where a problem is not having anything at all in the refrigerator. It is inconvenient to have a job you don’t like, and a problem is not having a job, and not being able to find one, even when you keep looking. When we allow inconveniences to look more like problems we begin to overwhelm ourselves with things that really don’t matter. We also begin to allow ourselves to get so tied up with “problems”, that we stop ourselves from seeing all of the blessings and opportunities around us. Inconveniences are part of life, and they can frustrate you and bother you as much as your problems, if you let them. Inside of inconveniences are the realities that things really aren’t that bad. Yes, I would love to find a parking space right next to the store, but if I need to find a parking space guess what, I have a car. If I am driving, it probably means that I have the ability to walk, so even though I may not want to walk, the fact is, I can. So couched inside of that inconvenience is praise and a thanks. Life is full of opportunities.

We can look for the silver lining, or we can complain about the obvious. Some of our problems are full of surprises and gifts. When you got laid off from work, guess what, you have some extra time to spend with the people in your life you love. You have time to explore those things in life that you couldn’t quite find the time to explore before. Yes, you may have to realign the way you think about spending money, but things are rarely all that bad. I don’t know how many times, I have heard someone say, now that I look back on it, that was the best thing that every happened to me! Be open every day to a new way of looking at both your inconveniences and your problems. If you are have a hard time celebrating the challenges in your life, ask someone who has just been told they have months to live. Ask someone who is fight for another day of life, if they would exchange one more problem filled day with you, just to open their eyes one more time. I would imagine there answer would be an expedient yes, even without a second thought. I am not making light of problems or inconveniences. I am just encouraging you not to waste your time, and energy complaining over things that really could be much worse. Life, really is all about perspective. Every day is a gift treasure it, you never know when it will be your last!

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