Once, there was a wealthy businessman who had too many problems and stress in life. He went to a wise woman and asked her: “I have too many problems; everyone wants something from me--time, energy, money. I can’t take it anymore. If you show me how to get rid of my problems, I will give your $1 million.”

The wise woman looked at the harried businessman kindly and replied: “That is easy. I have a solution for you. I know a community with over 100,000 people who have no problems, whatsoever. Would you like to join them?”

Upon hearing this, the wealthy businessman’s eyes lit up, and he said, “Yes. Perfect, show me where it is. I want to go there.”

The wise woman pointed toward the West. “It’s over there; it’s called the cemetery. Those who are there have no problems, whatsoever. They are dead. Only the living have problems. The more problems you have--rightfully handled--the more alive you are. Thank God for your problems; they can make you stronger and more alive.”

Have you ever wanted to get rid of your problems? Too much stress, too many bills; too many relationship conflicts; too little time. Now, there is a new paradoxical way to think about your problems: See them as vehicles for growth, improvement, even transformation.

This doesn’t mean that you go looking for problems, or that you intentionally make mistakes so you get into trouble. On the contrary; you will go about your way doing the right thing--living a life of discipline, love, and contribution, but at the same time, you will not fear problems, or obstacles, when they do arise.

The key is to view each problem, challenge, or obstacle as an opportunity--saying to yourself: "What can I learn from this situation? How can I become wiser, stronger, or more loving by overcoming this problem? When you think like this, you open up a storehouse of inner ability, wisdom, and power--reserves that you never even knew you had.

Another important point is to change your thinking from “If only (regrets),” to “Next time (optimistic change).” Sometimes, you will make mistakes or errors in life. You said the wrong thing to a loved one. You stayed too long in a job or relationship that wasn’t fulfilling. Or, you didn’t stay in a job or relationship that was actually good for you.

When you make a mistake in life, you are likely to experience regret thinking (“If only.... I had done/not done that). What you need to do is focus your mind on transformative thinking (”Next time I will do something differently; I will learn from my mistake).

When you engage in transformative thinking, you are able to take the lesson from your error and apply it to your future success. Perhaps, you will be more patient next time; or you will leave a bad situation. Or, you will trust your gut instinct more when it comes to making a decision. Instead of beating yourself up with regret, you will forgive yourself, and liberate your inner resources to act rightly the next time. The more good decisions you make, the less regret you will have.

Living successfully and joyfully is not that difficult. If you realize that each problem or difficulty you encounter has the seed of a greater benefit, and if you change your mindset from “If only” to “Next time,” you will begin to create miracles in your life. Now, problems become opportunities, and regrets are transformed into hopefulness and positive change. Begin today to turn your problems into prizes, and you will live more joyfully, powerfully, and confidently than ever before.