Problems, situations and polarities

selective focus photography of light bulbs

Problems without solutions are situations. And some problems are not to be solved, but they are a relationship to be navigated. A polarity is a situation in which two interdependent and seemingly contradictory states must be maintained for success over time.

Don’t start solving a problem before you know whether it is a problem or something else.


A problem is a difficulty or an obstacle that needs to be resolved or overcome. It can arise from various factors, such as a lack of information, resources, skills, or conflicting goals or values. Problems can be minor or significant, with different levels of complexity and urgency. Examples of problems include technical issues, interpersonal conflicts, organizational inefficiencies, and societal challenges.


A situation is a set of circumstances or conditions at a particular time and place. It can result from various factors, such as natural events, human actions, or systemic forces. Situations can be positive or negative, stable or dynamic, predictable or unpredictable. They can also vary in scope and impact, from personal to global situations. Examples include weather conditions, economic trends, political crises, and personal relationships.


A polarity is a dynamic tension between two opposing forces or perspectives that are interdependent and complementary. It is a natural aspect of life that manifests in various domains, such as nature, culture, and human psychology. Polarity can be seen as a continuum between two poles: love and hate, trust and suspicion, autonomy and interdependence, or order and chaos. It can be both a source of energy and conflict, depending on how it is perceived and managed.

Interrelated but distinct

Problems, situations, and polarities are distinct but interrelated concepts that describe different aspects of the human experience. While problems and situations represent challenges and opportunities that arise in specific contexts, polarities represent the inherent tensions and paradoxes within and between these contexts. Understanding the nature and dynamics of these concepts can help you navigate change and complexity more effectively.