The Challenger Mindset: How to Make Your Problems Suck Less
Being a CEO sucks, but it’s one of the most rewarding things my mentor Noah has done in a long time.
Noah learned many things after coming back to be the CEO of AppSumo. The biggest mindset shift for him in the past year was when he started asking himself, "How can we enjoy the problem we are facing more?"
A big portion of the CEO's job is to solve problems. As the company gets bigger and makes more money, it gets a new set of more challenging problems.
Before like most people, Noah would be frustrated with the problems. But now he tries to be more excited!
When the marketing is not doing well at the company, he'd be like, "Okay, so our marketing is not doing well. That's a REALLY interesting problem to solve!"
When someone tries to sue the company, he'd be like, "Wow! That's also a really interesting problem to solve!"
This kind of attitude might seems kind of crazy and overly positive, but there's some science behind this and it's surprisingly effective.
The book SuperBetter talks about the concept of adopting a challenger mindset.
Basically, when bad things happen to us, people either choose to see it as a threat or a challenge.
When we perceive something as a threat, we are more likely to get depressed and anxious. Our ability to tackle the problem suffers. And we are more likely to engage in self-defeating behaviors or simply run away from the problem.
When we perceive something as a challenge, we are more likely to remain positive. We adapt to the problem more effectively, perform better, and are more likely to achieve the best outcome in the situation we are in.
Another thing we have to realize is that a problem-free life isn't as great as it seems. There was a period when Noah was semi-retired, still making a lot of money, while someone else ran the company.
It was pretty close to a problem-free life. And he could've drank fancy cocktails on a beach somewhere six days a week if he wanted to.
But he came to realize that being retired is actually kind of boring.
People seem to find meaning in overcoming tough challenges. That's why we see people try to run 26.2 miles marathons, climb Mount Everest, and have babies.
So here's how I'm adopting a challenger mindset in my own life.
I try to imagine myself as a game character like Super Mario or Batman. And whenever I face a problem or obstacle, I try to see it as an opportunity to level up myself, so that I can eventually become the person I want to be and live the life I want to live.
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Thanks for reading!