problem solving

Whether you think about it or not we are all problem solvers…

Every day you’ll be faced with at least one problem to solve. You just might not realize it.  Problems are simply choices. There’s the ‘everyday’ problems – what to eat for lunch, which route to take to work, what to wear…and there’s the work problems – How to fix a project that’s not on target, how to manage a staff member that’s not performing…how to work more quickly & efficiently….the list goes on.

No matter what job you’re in, you will be judged on your ability to solve problems. Because problems = Hassle for your boss. And bosses don’t like hassle. So the more problems you can solve, the less Hassle your boss has, the happier your boss is, the more likely you are to get that pay review. Everyone wins.

Simple Life Strategy: How to problem solve

  1. Focus on the solution – not the problem.  Neuroscientists have proven that your brain is unable to find solutions if you are focused on the problem as this activates negative emotions in the brain that block potential solutions. This does not mean ‘ignore the problem’! Simply acknowledge it and then focus on ways to fix it. Constantly ask yourself ‘so what could the solution be?’
  2. Don’t view the problem as a negative thing. Problems are simply ‘opportunities for improvement and ‘indicators of where to focus our attention’. So try and approach problems neutrally – without any judgment. If you get caught up in the label ‘problem’ you will often spiral into negative thinking and block your brains natural ability to solve problems!
  3. Have an open mind. It’s important to keep an open mind so you can think creatively about potential solutions. ‘No idea is a bad idea’ is a good mantra to live by. Be careful to avoid ridiculing yourself for coming up with ‘stupid solutions’ as often these ideas can trigger other great solutions.
  4. Simplify it. Have a go at simplifying your problem by generalizing it. Remove all detail and make it bigger, broader. Often in life we over-complicate things – and this is usually the case with problems. Try simplifying things with a really easy solution – this often works!
  5. Change direction. Think laterally – ‘You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging it deeper.” Change your approach. Look at things in a new way. Even if it feels unnatural a fresh approach usually stimulates a fresh solution.

Happy problem solving!

Do you have an important problem you’d like to solve right now? My problem solving coaching programs involve learning long-term skills & techniques to help you become a master problem solver! Contact me to find out more.

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Image Source: / Jeff Jarvis


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