Creative People Take First World Problems And Solve Them With Third World Thinking

Creative People Take First World Problems And Solve Them With Third World Thinking
Diego PH on Unsplash

For those of us new to the idea of a 'first-world problem,' it is a problem that only exists to those of us privileged to have consistent running water, electricity, etc.

People who get caught up in first-world problems are often the subject of ridicule because studies show it's mostly just not that deep.

So if we use creative third-world thinking, 'third-world' meaning they're still a developing country and may not have immediate access to running water or electricity, perhaps we can solve these problems.

Redditor ThomasAmesM410, wanted to know how to find an easy fix when they asked:

"What are some 1st world problems that could be solved with 3rd world thinking?"


"Some issues just do not matter"


"Yes! As someone who's from a "third world" country, some issues that people in "first world" countries worry about just seem so trivial to me."


Making It Work

"Fix things that break"


"I live in East Africa, I can confirm this. Motorcycles and cars are driven for hundreds of thousands of miles, phones are repaired until they turn to dust, and if something is truly beyond repair, it's put to other uses."

"Recently worked in mosquito net distribution, and one family had the same nets for 10 years, which is about 6 years longer than recommended. Turns out, the recently deceased grandmother made it her passion to keep those nets repaired for years. First case of malaria in the family since she passed a year or so ago happened about 9 months back, it was two young girls around 4-7 years old. Luckily I was visiting the family two days into their fevers, 103 Fahrenheit each."

"I sensitized and handed out nets to the family, and they took those old nets and turned them into everything imaginable. Bedding, dishwashing, they even used them for fishing. It was amazing to see how inventive they are to turn those nets into so many useful items."


Duct Tales

"Duct tape can go a long way in fixing many problems if you are very creative."


"Well, this is like the time where the roof in my room literally collapsed. The outer roof didn't, but the inner one that you can see if you looked up did. My brother took a trash bag, duct tape, and a bucket. We couldn't fix the roof until a professional came, but we stopped the leak from the roof from spilling everywhere. I know tons of people who can't think that way and I really don't know why. Sometimes you just need to think outside the box."


A Slower Kind Of Traffic

"First World Problem - people honking .00001 seconds after the light turns green"

"Third World Solution - In Colombia (I saw in Bogota, I'm sure it's country wide) traffic lights turn yellow for 2 seconds before turning green. The thinking behind this is relatively simple, the overwhelming majority of cars are manual transmission, so the yellow light is your signal to shift from neutral to first so you can go as soon as it turns. Also has the side effect of keeping traffic flowing."



"Most solutions in this thread actually highlight the ignorance of the First World about the Third World."

"Most of these solutions in the Third World countries happen not out of any grander idea, it's simply because these things are cheaper. It's all about economy. As soon as the people in those countries can afford the problems that are mentioned here, they will. So expecting the First World countries to adopt these solutions is simply not practical."

"Source: am from the Third World."


Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

"If we stopped building houses out of the most flammable materials available, we could prevent house fires and most insurance claims. Masonry construction rules."


Fix That Wobbly Table

"We'd probably make less garbage if people fixed more of their stuff rather than buying tons of disposable crap."


High Speed

"Rail Travel."

"Imagine being able to ride the train for cheaper then riding a bus, and you can go anywhere in the country."

"India's rail network has some really cheap train fares. If they can manage to do it wonder why the rest of the world's rail fares are so expensive."



"People in a lot of Caribbean nations are quite poor, but report generally being some of the happiest people in the world. They just don't get caught up in the rat race of reality TV mansion envy the way Americans do."


Planning Models

"Curitiba, a third world city, has seemingly solved a lot of first world problems with traffic, pollution, and the environment, through innovative city planning. City planners throughout the world visit to see their solutions."


Stop Shopping For Fast Fashion

"Wear high quality clothing made from leather or other durable materials, instead of buying cheap factory stuff designed to fall apart in a few years. Care for and repair your clothing."

"And stop being so damn trendy. It's ridiculous how much crap we buy and throw away just because of fashion standards. Buy clothes that you like that will last, not clothes that scream Mid-October 2019 so you can prove to your friends that you could afford new clothes every few weeks."


Not Genius Ideas Take Us To The Moon

"Always overfilling your burrito causing stuff to fall out? Eat it over another tortilla. BOOM! A second burrito."


Leave The Phone At Home

"Ditching some of our technology."

"I'm not talking the kind that saves lives or keeps us safe, thinking more like spending way less time on our smartphones/tablets (as I hypocritically post to Reddit on a smartphone)."

"I was walking in a park a couple days ago having a bad day, and i realized I had left my phone behind in the car. I was about to go get it when I just decided to say f'k it and look at the fall colors and trees instead."

"This gave me a moment to watch everybody else around me. Whether it was city workers doing landscaping, people crossing the street, or mothers with their kids on the playground, nobody WASNT on a freaking phone. It's sad. I feel like we've forgotten how to look at real things with our own eyes in our surroundings."


Be Aware Of Your Reality

"Some 'problems' are not problems because what you're having anxiety attacks over or getting outraged about are just simply not grounded in reality. Social justice should be about advancing human dignity and literal justice. Not yelling at people because you don't like the way they think. Shocking I know, but you and everybody else is allowed to have a varied and undecided opinion on many things in this world because not much of it is cut and dry. If you don't like it you make the best out of it that you can and do your part."

"Source: South African."


Know What You Have, Appreciate What You've Been Given

"Not from the third world, but from one of the poorer areas of the US that some people consider "the third world"."

"A lack of gratitude and work ethic in reference to education is most prevalent to me. I go to college in a rich area (by my standards) and it amazes me how these people who were given so much opportunity in life just don't try. I've seen people who were enrolled in private schools and accelerated college/high school programs fail out because they didn't realize what a gift they had. I would give an arm and a leg to have the childhood they did."

"When you grew up in an area where the people around you are always hungry, jobless, and even homeless, and your high school never really "teaches" you anything, you become incredibly thankful for the resources and opportunities college gives you. I'm doing everything I can to be the best student I can be and I know that will help me out in the long run. I don't regret learning how to be thankful for my education and what it can do for me."

"I may not be from the 'third world;' by some people's standards but underdeveloped areas, in general, teach you a lot."


A Different Way Of Living

"Zoning laws. Maybe not entirely... There still needs to be some regulation, but the way that areas are decided into commercial and residential in North America is really detrimental to communities and quality of life. Living in Istanbul, I lived in a neighborhood of apartment buildings where the first floor was always commercial and all everything above that mixed and residential."

"I would spend just a few hours a week doing errands, cuz everything was 'just downstairs': I'd walk a block to the green grocer and on the way back drop shoes off and the shoe repair, pick up my laundry, and finish up at the drug store literally at the bottom floor of the apartment. It meant more free time for me, no need for a car, AND I knew and often had a commercial relationship with my neighbors."


Save The Environment

"First World problem: Plastic straws creating a lot of trash that's not biodegradable."

"Third World solution: Drink outta the f'kin cup."

– Ricjack99


"Proaganda by companies also plays a role. My sister spent some time in Fiji and apparently a lot of people were completely unaware that Coca Cola is incredibly unhealthy due to the positive ways it is advertised. A lot of children also didn't learn about brushing their teeth, so you can imagine how well those things go together..."

– Krylos

Old School Construction

"If we stopped building houses out of the most flammable materials available, we could prevent house fires and most insurance claims. Masonry construction rules."

– ScarceFeminineWomen

Backyard Potty

"Toilets broke / sh*t outside."

– Sciabarrasi5

Maybe when you go about your day, you can think two things: You don't have it as bad as some other people; and maybe that table doesn't need to be thrown away because it's a little wobbly.

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