It’s worth it if you’re a problem solver, particularly in today’s world where things are changing so quickly. You can’t rely on set patterns to carry you through.
You need to be able to adapt. And what is adaption, except for a series of problems that you have to solve?
If you don’t have the attributes of a problem solver, what can you do to develop them?
You Can’t Solve Problems if You Don’t Acknowledge Them
The first step to becoming a problem solver is understanding you have to be proactive.
If you’re someone who ignores a problem until it has become out of control, then you can’t call yourself a problem solver. A problem grower, perhaps. But not a solver.
You have to find ways to tackle problems. Of course, that on its own isn’t that helpful. Instead, you need a plan.
Here is what you should do:
Defining the Problem
A lot of people don’t do this. Instead, they either end up scared of the problem, or charge in, inattentive of how big it might actually be. Both of these approaches are problematic.
The first one is obviously troubling as fear can become self-perpetuating. In fact, it can get worse as time goes on, as the fear feeds on itself. That’s down to how we store and recall memories.
The just going straight for it can also be problematic, however. This is particularly true if the problem is severe.
When you don’t define a problem, you might go about tackling it the wrong way. This might be because you misinterpreted the issue.
For example, when you have a fight and your partner keeps talking about the dishes when really, they feel neglected and that’s the problem that needs to be addressed.
So stop and think about the dimensions of the problem you’re facing.
Develop the Solution
The next step is to take your definition and come up with a number of solutions to it. You’ll be tempted to go with the first idea that comes to mind. Unless it’s a home run, it’s always a good idea to think a little longer.
Think of it like a game of checkers. Are there better options? What will the repercussions be? Will this actually solve the problem, or just paper over it?
If you have a few solutions, and you don’t know which one to choose, you can always do a cost benefit analysis.
Take a piece of paper, make a bar down the middle, and write down the good on the left and the bad on the right. This will make it far easier to decide which option to choose. Or, you can get help.
Once you’ve decided on the right solution, you need to go for it. The time for consideration and hesitation is done. The time for implementation has begun.
It is important that you stand fully behind the solution you’ve embraced. When you pursue it halfheartedly, you’ll end up making the problem even worse.
Of course, you shouldn’t be ignorant to the situation on the ground. If you find that your solution isn’t working out the way you hoped it would, or that the situation on the ground has changed, you can go back to the drawing board and reconsider your options.
Just make sure that you give your chosen solution the time to work, because indecision can be an issue all by itself.
Learn and Evaluate
The problem ends up solved, and you think you’re done.
Not quite. If you abandon it now, you’re missing out on what is possibly the most valuable part of the process.
That’s where you evaluate how your choice worked out. What went right? What went wrong? What can you do differently next time?
Yes, this does take time, and yes, we’re all busy. But if this means the next time you’ll recognize a problem earlier, and take steps to tackle it sooner, the time you invest now can be won back many times over. Then you’ll be achieving instead of just being active.
So give your future self the best life you can by taking the steps you have to. Evaluate what you’ve done and be honest with yourself. You’ll thank yourself down the line.
How Are You a Problem Solver?
If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
Would you like to contribute a post?