All of us encounter problems; only some solve them faster than others. A special talent? Not really; it is all about a mindset they possess resulting in a skill they have mastered through repeated practise. A disciplined process is all it takes to become an effective and efficient problem solver.
Problem solving is a highly important skillset to succeed in personal and professional life. Problems are an integral part of our lives. It is when we accept it as a challenge that we prepare ourselves to overcome it to achieve our goal. The word ‘problem’ itself has a tinge of negativity embedded in it; a slight shift in perspective can change our perception towards it altogether.
Our general reaction to problems
We have two choices when we face a problem: either be overwhelmed by it or approach it with a solution-minded framework. Good problem solvers keep egos aside. They are able to find the right root cause of the problem faced and thus, eliminate the problems from recurring. Instead of being overwhelmed by the scale of the problem, it is easier to solve when we consider a complex problem comprising several smaller simpler problems. So, eliminating the smaller problems in life allows bigger problems to gradually disappear.
Preparing the mind for problem solving
Look for solutions to help you overcome the problem with strong self belief instead of continually dwelling on the problem. This mindset helps by rationally detaching oneself from the situation and diverting the mind towards solution. Do not hesitate in asking for help. Here we should also accept that a problem can have multiple solutions coming from different persons; and we will lose out if we close our minds to only one solution. Thus, with repeated practice, we develop skills and gain experience to handle other similar problems. Develop patience as you work through it, asking for help, understanding it, without taking sporadic decisions. A quick solution is mostly not a sustainable one. Once we review the problem as an opportunity, we gain more expertise and improve our skills necessary for problem solving. Being able to solve problems in this way gives us immense happiness. In fact there is an interesting quote by Steve Maraboli in this regard, who says, “Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.” Problems are the reason we can stay happy and have an adventurous life.
Problem solving is a disciplined process
First be clear about the problem. Since most problems revolve around stressful, complex situations the best way to start is by staying calm without panic. Catch the problem by its horns, without procrastinating. Do not refrain from working on a solution thinking it will be wrong. Thus being solution-minded, you have succeeded in knowing one way in which your solution does not work. Proceed with small steps, taking help as required. Taking help doesn’t make you wrong, weak, or undeserving. Humans are social creatures and we are designed to help each other. It is also important to understand that at times you need to let go of the things that you cannot change.
About the authors
The article has been contributed by the following students from St. Joseph’s High School, Matigara, Darjeeling: Archeesa Prasad, Manya Goel, Shreya Chaurasia and Palak Goyal.