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The last word on… The problem being the solution

Nobody said life was easy… embracing our setbacks is the key to a better understanding of the world, says Oliver Burkeman

When you have a problem – in love, work or any other area of life – you want rid of it as quickly as possible. That’s the whole point about problems, surely? But a long tradition in philosophy and psychology, reaching back to ancient Rome, urges another perspective – instead of simply trying to banish our hardships, we should look at them more closely, perhaps even with an attitude of friendliness, because the solution lies hidden within. Or, as the Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius put it: ‘What stands in the way becomes the way.’

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