What Problem Will You Own?
The world would look drastically different if we spent more time identifying a problem to own, rather than fighting for more space, more time, or more money in our own little part of the world. If you want to make a difference, you need to own a problem. You must make it yours to solve. There are three steps to doing this: identify your problem, prioritise it, and then work to solve it with the resources you have.
Of course, many of us care about multiple issues, but you have to dive deep into a specific one if you want to solve it. Let your heart, not your mind help you identify it. You will feel it before you know it. It creeps up on you when you’re daydreaming, or keeps coming up in conversations with friends. Unfortunately, we haven’t been taught to spot these moments of connection so, more often than not, we let them go by. But that wouldn’t happen in a world where we all own a problem.
To truly own a problem—you need to prioritise it. After all, saying “yes” to what matters most always means saying “no” to other things. Owning a problem means it’s part of who you are and it’s what you do. It doesn’t need to be a full-time job. It just has to have significance in your life.
To fully own a problem, you can’t just care about it and prioritise it. You have to do something about it. If you don’t know what role you might play in solving something as big as gender inequity or poverty, you can start by asking yourself: “What resources do I have access to that can help solve this problem?” The way in which you own a particular issue can evolve over the years; in fact, it should.
Next time you’re squeezed in between strangers on public transportation, try playing a game. Imagine who on the bus will own which problem and what impact that may have on your city, your country, the world.
Adapted from article by Harvard Business Review
Are you on the verge of owning a problem?