I love solving problems. Or maybe I love figuring out what makes things happen the way they do. If you are like me, and I think many people are, when it comes to problem solving you think in terms of math problem solving. The solutions to most problems are solved in the same manner as math problems. However the kinds of problems I’m talking about are the ones we face everyday. The manner in which we solve problems is pretty much the same across the board. It does not really matter if it is a problem with a spouse, co-worker, or even the federal government.
If you want to exist as a functional person on this planet you must learn the skill of problem solving. In other word’s, if you are truly committed to change you have to learn the skills of problem solving. Unfortunately problem solving is not taught in our school system as a life skill but only as a math skill. I think it has become a lost skill in our society. This can be seen as we become more polarized economically and socially. I wonder how many lives we could have saved and the heartache we could have avoided if many of the mass murder and social outcasts knew or had been taught how to solve problems in a constructive and rewarding manner.
There are many benefits to solving a problem. Some of them are glaring and some lie beneath the surface. In my opinion the biggest benefits of problem solving is derived in the building of confidence and self-esteem. When we start solving problems whether they are little or big, our self-awareness increases and our confidence builds. The more problems we solve the higher our confidence and swagger becomes, leadership follows, and the momentum in our lives increases in a very positive way. The more we solve problems the more likely others will follow!
It starts to take on a life of its own when you learn to solve problems in an effective manner and it becomes a daily habit. We face issues and have an attitude that anything is possible and obstacles no longer are a challenge but are looked upon as an event we can handle with confidence. I try to use problems as a learning experience; if we can learn from the issues and use them as a tool for growth we gain a better perspective and attitude towards problems and how we solve them.
Brian Tracy in his book, “ The Power of Self Discipline”, put forth a formula for entrepreneurs to use to increase their skill set in problem solving. I think it is right on the money and can be adapted for everyday use in our lives.
Here are the 9 areas of discipline that he identified.
• Take the time to define the problem clearly. Take an introspective look at the problem and define it in a clear and precise manner.
• Pursue alternate paths on “facts of life” and opportunities. Think of the many ways to pursue a resolution, making sure that it is a solvable problem. Something you can solve.
• Challenge the definition from all angles. Thinking it through all avenues and challenges in creative ways.
• Iteratively question the cause of the problem. Identify the root causes of the problem making it more solvable.
• Identify multiple possible solutions. Having multiple solutions ready and available create a more likely outcome.
• Prioritize potential solutions. Putting a higher value on workable solutions and prioritizing increase the likelihood of success.
• Make a decision. Make the decision move forward with confidence and empower you.
• Assign responsibility. Take responsibility or make sure that you have assigned it to the proper individual.
• Set a measure for the solution. Gauge and measure your success, set a standard for yourself and others to measure the success your having in solving problems.
When you become proficient at solving problems your value increases to your family, employer, and in every aspect of your life. Your outlook and perspective take on a very positive tune and life becomes manageable and less stressful. Don’t complicate the issues, take baby steps at first, and work your way through. Success is yours for the taking.