Spice tolerance

William Liao
1 min readSep 16


It’s always amusing to eat spicy food with friends and observe our wide range of reactions:

For some, it’s not spicy at all. For others, there’s just a little kick. And for the rest, the spiciness is a total shock to the body.

Everyone’s eating the same food. It’s just a difference in spice tolerance.

Similarly, when I think of the spectrum of reactions people can have to the same problem, I think it’s partially explained by a difference in problem tolerance.

For one person, a problem might throw them off balance because they haven’t encountered it before.

For another person, encountering the same problem may feel like another day at work because they’re used to tackling it.

Wherever you may be in the problem tolerance spectrum, I think it’s encouraging to remember that tolerance is built over time:

If you keep working on the same class of problems, they become increasingly easier to address.

You’ve seen them before, and you know how to work through them with confidence and composure.

If you persistently tackle difficult things, all this is earned in time.



William Liao

Taiwanese American, daily blogger of ideas about impactful work in service of others, photographer (ephemera.photography)