Volunteer Tips: What is Good About Problems

by Yaryna Kobryn –

When going for a project, one can imagine a perfect scenario where wth is going smoothly and well-set.  In reality, however, the volunteers might face a range of problems – starting from practical/logistical ones taken place at the workcamp up to the interpersonal conflicts or travel complications. Lost bags or valuables, missed buses/trains/planes, conflict of interests with another member of the group, and even common life-related problems and decision making can be truly overwhelming.


Once something goes not as it is planned and the perception of “a perfect project”, “perfect travel” or “perfect experience” shatters and fades, you might feel disappointed, mistrustful, demotivated. Well, don’t be. You might be surprised how vital and beneficial the problems appear to be.

Being obsesses with the idea of perfection in our life moments, we fail to embrace the uniqueness of our experience. As we focus of what is negative, what is lacking, we cast away the gratitude and appreciation while limiting the horizon of our own opportunities.

Imagine a high and steep mountain which you see on your way, the mountain so big that the clouds gathered over it obscure its peak. Imagine the gloomiest, the dulliest image which can be. Insurmountable. Threatening. Menancing. That is how the problem might look like to you. You can either step aside and leave the sense of frustration to yourself – or you can head forward with hopefullness and strong will to move on.

And, well, you might be deeply amazed by the view that opens up from the peak as you reach it. A bright, lush-green, sunlit valley of new chances and opportunities waiting ahead for you, for those who takes enough courage to face the arisen problem. It proves how Important it is to keep positive attitude towards any challenges. Once you perceive the problem from a positive perspective, you will surely gain a lot out of it.


So what is good about problems?

You Learn From Mistakes

Making decisions can take a lot of efforts or considerations – or be impulsive and on the spot. Either way, some decisions might turn out to be a bad choice. Some problems might escalate, some new issues might arise anew. Whatever the outcome appears to be, it is vital to keep no regrets – but to learn from the mistakes made.

Consider every single new problem a chance to learn – and you will be unstoppable in whatever you pursue in future.

You Learn How to Speak Up and Defend Yourself

As the volunteering project – either a workcamp or an EVS – implies living and working with a number of people who might be strikingly different from you, there might be a range of problems based on communication and teamwork.


Imagine you are met with confrontation or disapproval regarding your decision or action. Imagine your idea is challenged by others. Imagine you have to to explain your choice and the importance of it. Imagine you need to deal with a problematic volunteer. Maybe none of it will happen, maybe all of it would take place at once – the experiences might be as unpredictable as weather forecasts. And, much more importantly than taking an umbrella, being equipped with the tools of effective dialogue and resolving communication issues would save you from a range of unpleasant situation. How do you get equipped with it? There is no other way than experiencing and overcoming it. As you learn how to communicate in the time of a problem or conflict, many problems will pass you by with every single advancement of your communication skills.

You Are No Longer Afraid to Face Challenges

When I face another challenge which seems to be unhandleable, the first thing I do is recalling all the obstacles I’ve been through. The problems which I crushed and ruined in the past are kept in my memory as trophies. Comparing the immense pile of them to what is just ahead of me makes any problem look diminished. So keep a good care of your trophies, and feel open to add up the new ones to your collection.

You Become Stronger

To sum up all above mentioned, we learn for the mistakes, benefit from them by experience, gain greater confidence from overcoming any new challenge.It is not perfect moments which make you better and define you – it is the problems that shape who you are, making you stronger, turning you into the achiever, the champion, the one to take control of your own life and experiences.


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