Did you ever consider yourself a problem solver? I guess not. But in fact we are still solving problems. And the greater our skills for problem-solving are, the simpler our lives are.
If it’s deciding what you’re going to eat for lunch, or how you’re going to win back a high-profile client, we have to make decisions every day. Taking those decisions — and facing challenges head-on — is what makes us excel in life.
Decision-making often seems like it should be easier than it is. After all, how do you know an option will pan out until you try it?
Your problem-solving capabilities must be strengthened. Through defining the problem that you need to fix and looking about the ways that you can address it, choices are much simpler. You know what’s necessary, and as you work your way to a solution, that’s key to saving time.
Every day, you’ll be faced with at least one problem to solve. But it gets easier when you realize that problems are simply choices. There’s nothing ‘scary’ about them other than having to make a decision.
No matter what role you are in, where you work, how many friends you have, your ability to fix issues will be judged. And for all concerned challenges are similar hassles. And people don’t like molestation. So the more things you can fix, the less all-round hassle, the happier people will be with you. Everyone wins.
A problem is something hard to understand or accomplish or deal with. It can be a task, a situation, or even a person. Problem solving involves methods and skills to find the best solutions to problems.
Problem solving is important because we all have decisions to make, and questions to answer in our lives. Amazing people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are all great problems solvers. Good parents, teachers, doctors and waiters all have to be good at solving different sort of problems as well.
Problem solving skills are for our everyday lives. Here are some tips that could improve your problem solving skills.
1. Focus on the Solution, Not the Problem
Neuroscientists have shown that if you dwell on the issue, the brain can’t find solutions. This is because you are essentially feeding ‘negativity’ as you concentrate on the problem, which in turn stimulates negative emotions within the brain. Such feelings are blocking potential solutions.
I’m not saying you should ‘ignore the problem,’ instead, try to remain calm. It helps to first, acknowledge the problem; and then, move your focus to a solution-oriented mindset where you keep fixed on what the ‘answer’ could be, rather than lingering on ‘what went wrong’ and ‘who’s fault it is’.
There’s no question that asking questions is an important part of our daily lives. But are you asking the right questions? Let’s say you need more customers. Rather than ask, “Why can’t I get more customers?” ask solution-oriented questions like “What three things can I do differently than my competitors?” or “What would I have to do in the next month to get 10 new customers?”
2. Develop a step-by-step approach.
Psychologists and researchers have established a systematic approach to seeking a permanent answer to any problem. This method, generally called the problem-solving process, begins by defining the problem. After all, in one case there could be several problems and you could be focused on the wrong one. The signs are isolated from the cause.
After defining the problem, form a strategy. This will vary depending on the situation and your preferences, but develop wide-ranging ideas while taking into consideration your resources. Are the solutions feasible? Come up with multiple ideas to have options.
Organize your information: What do you know — or not know — about the problem? By collecting as much information as possible, you increase your chances of achieving a positive outcome.
Once you have agreed on a plan, track their progress. The approach that you have built should be observable so that you can determine whether it is reaching its target. If not, then an alternate approach can need to be introduced. Evaluate outcome. What did the solution test against the objectives? Did you remain within budget? If so, then the solution has been a success. If not, then try another solution next time.
3. Change your mindset.
When you view a problem as burdensome, you avoid it. Who actually wants to deal with something that’s frustrating, overwhelming, or seemingly impossible? When you change your attitude to see challenges as a way to learn, however, you’ll be less focused on finding a solution. What’s more, the mind is going to break down and examine the problem more quickly, you ‘re going to be more versatile, and you’re going to be more able to look after potential issues.
While changing your mindset to start viewing problems as opportunities doesn’t occur overnight, it helps to first realize that problems are inevitable. The sooner you come to terms with this, the better you’ll be able to approach any dilemma with open-mindedness.
Second, stop dwelling on initial negative experiences. For example, if your car doesn’t start in the morning, your first thought might be about how much it would cost to fix, or how late you are going to be for a meeting. Focus instead on the real problem.
Create a mental list of the actual negative consequences — the worst-case scenarios. We have a tendency to think a minor setback is the end of the world. By thinking objectively about the real-world implications of the problem, you may realize it’s not as bad as it seems.
Finally, focus on improvements. Resist against knee-jerk reactions. Instead, consider your current and future situation. Look at other options, too. Try not to view problems as ‘scary’ things! If you think about what a problem really is, it’s really just feedback on your current situation.
Every problem is telling you something isn’t working right now, and you need to find a new way around it. And seek to tackle things neutrally – without making any decision. Practice focusing on problem defining, keeping calm and not making things too complicated.
Check out my related post: What is crowd learning?