A problem can be a real break and a stroke of luck. It can be seen as opportunity knocking providing you with a chance to get out of the rut of the everyday and make yourself or some situation better. Problems need not arrive as a result of external factors or bad events. Any new awareness you have that allows you to see possibilities for improvement brings a “problem” for you to solve. This is why the most creative people are “problem seekers” rather than “problem avoiders”. How you view problem solving is simply a matter of choice.
Developing a positive attitude toward problems can transform you into a happier, saner, more confident person who feels (and is) much more in control of life. You can learn to respond to problems with enthusiasm and eagerness, rising to the opportunity to show your stuff and amazing yourself with some of the results you can achieve!
Problem solving is an essential life skill. It is also a very useful tool because it can help you tackle immediate challenges or achieve a goal. It is a skill because once you have learnt it you can use it repeatedly.
There are a variety of problem solving processes however each process consists of a series of steps, including identifying an issue, searching for options and putting a possible solution into action. It is useful to view problem solving as a cycle because, sometimes, a problem needs several attempts to solve it, or the problem changes.
The first step you need to take is to identify and name the problem so that you can find an appropriate solution. Sometimes you might be unsure about what the problem is: you might just feel general anxiety or be confused about what is getting in the way of your goals.
When you are clear about what the problem is you need to think about it in different ways. Seeing the problem in different ways is likely to help you find an effective solution. This is where creativity can help and the information that we have already covered on this will be useful.
Once you have thought about the problem from different angles, you can identify your goals. What is it that you want to achieve? When you have decided what your goal is, you need to look for possible solutions. The more possible solutions you find, the more likely it is that you will be able to discover an effective solution.
From the list of possible solutions, you can sort out which are most relevant to your situation and which are realistic and manageable. You can do this by predicting outcomes for possible solutions and also checking, with other people, what they think the outcomes might be. When you have explored the consequences, you can use this information to identify the solution which is most relevant to you and is likely to have the best outcomes for your situation.
Once you have selected a possible solution you are ready to put it into action. You will need to have energy and motivation to do this because implementing the solution may take some time and effort. You can prepare yourself to implement the solution by planning when and how you will do it, whether you talk with others about it, and what rewards you will give yourself when you have done it.
Just because you have worked your way through the problem solving process, it does not mean that, by implementing the possible solution, you automatically solve your problem. This where having an alternative back up plan is useful.
If the solution was successful in helping you solve your problem and reaching your goal, then you know that you have effectively solved your problem. If you feel dissatisfied with the result, then you can begin the steps again.
Problem solving is a skill and a process which you can learn, and practice will not only improve your ability; it will help you to gather a whole raft of experience that may help you to solve other problems.
The words problem and opportunity form the hybrid word probortunity. Seeing problems like this and having a positive mental attitude will help you see a way around the rocks in the road as opposed to seeing problems as barriers or obstacles.
Problem Solving – Useful Tips
• Identify and name your problem.
• View problems objectively.
• Look at problems from all angles.
• Work out what your goal is.
• Identify alternative solutions.
• Think creatively.
• Put the solution into action.
• Prepare a contingency solution.
• Review your problem solving process.
• Be positive and seek out probortunities!
The Happy Handbook
A Compendium of Modern Life Skills
by Liggy Webb is out now.
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