Problems are commonplace, but not the solution; more so because we lack the mindset and the skill to approach it. All it requires is training the mind, which if started early in life, will empower us to explore problems like a situation to be explored rather than a crisis to defeat us.
Problem and our general reaction
A problem is a fear of the unknown, that arouses stress, doubt and negative emotions. One tends to give up easily, mostly due to lack of patience. Besides, we being quite used to having everything handed to us, we are conditioned to be lethargic. This affects us in real life when we are faced with problems. When we don’t find an immediate solution to our problems, our instant response is to give up.
Get to the bottom
Before we solve a problem, we need to precisely identify the problem, and resources in understanding it. Being aware of all the facts behind the problem greatly helps.Once we have got a clarity of the real problem, we are able to communicate its nature to others through a dialogue. Thus analysing the problem sometimes gives us the solutions as well. When the problem is not well understood, “solutions” only create new problems. So, the more we understand the problem, the more likely we understand the root cause and can create countermeasures that equip us to handle similar problems. Unfortunately, in this day and age where hours are equated to cash and naïve simplicity reigns, time spent on understanding problems is viewed as time wasted.
Approaching a problem
Firstly, problems need to be viewed with a simpler lens, looked at as a situation and an opportunity.. It makes us feel lighter and a lot more stress-free. Next, we need to accept that a problem can have multiple solutions. Alternative solutions to the problem should be generated before final evaluation. A common mistake in problem solving is that alternatives are evaluated as they are proposed, so the first acceptable solution is chosen, even if it’s not the best fit. If we focus on trying to get the results we want, we miss the potential for learning something new that will allow for real improvement in the problem-solving process.
Framing the mind
Solution Mindset: It is an attitude that makes us action-driven, which does not keep us stuck when challenges arise. This ability might not be inborn, but requires us to be trained to acquire the problem-solving skills. Treating the problem like a challenge and an opportunity helps us solve it with success.
Discipline: Take down notes, seek help from those who are experienced and grab on to every opportunity that is given to us to learn new things that we come across in the course of solving our problems. Nothing ends well in a hurry. A proper, systematic plan executed with patience is what you need to solve problems efficiently.
Ask Questions : Conscious questioning of the ‘hows’, ‘whats’, ‘whys’ helps one to define and refine the problem better. Questions can help you clarify whether you’re actually on the right track in solving problems.
Practice : Skills are not inborn, but practice helps us better them, which is one of the primary tools for problem solving. It equips us to handle a similar problem the next time we face it. It makes us think and reason more, and discover new methods of solving certain problems. Age makes us resistant to practise, which makes it important to start practising early to acquire new skills. Many believe that intellectual understanding is enough to solve a problem, but without adequate training, we cannot develop our skills.
So let us enhance our Solution-Mindset by taking up more challenges and solving them with more enthusiasm rather than fear. If we view the problems as hurdles in an Obstacle Race, we get an added zeal to overcome them, applying our creativity and analytical skills.
About the authors
The article has been contributed by the following students from Our Lady Queen of the Missions School, Park Circus, Kolkata: Kojagori Sen, Aaratrika Das, Rifah Ali and Anwesha Rahman.