Learning to solve life’s big and little problems can help you achieve your goals, live with less stress, and enjoy more success both personally and professionally. Learning to solve problems is a skill, and it is one you can hone and practice over time if you know the right strategies. Here are six ways you can learn to become an effective problem solver in your life.
One of the reasons you may sometimes have difficulty solving a problem is because you are too busy thinking about the emotions that the problem evoked rather than real solutions to your situation. Sometimes, you may have become married to a particular idea, and when it didn’t work out, you get disappointed. Other times, you are just upset that things didn’t work out. Regardless, you need to focus less on how you FEEL about the problem and more on solutions to it. Become more objective, and your answers will be more effective.
Practice Being a Risk Taker
When it comes to solving problems, sometimes, you must take a chance to get to the best possible solution. The best answers often materialize when you try something new or think outside the box. Learning to be a smart risk-taker can help you become a better problem solver. Look for situations in your life where you can practice. Weigh all the possibilities and try something you have never done before. Take calculated risks to see that it isn’t so scary, after all.
Prepare for the Obstacles
When you start thinking about how to solve a problem, it is essential to remember that some solutions can trigger additional reactions, which could result in further complications. When making a choice, which is the best path, it is essential to look at all your solutions from a higher level to determine the obstacles that are likely to get in the way of each option. The more options you have can help improve your chances of success and be better prepared for the consequences of your choice.
Ask Open-Minded People for Advice
When trying to solve a problem, you may think that any help would be beneficial. But, if the people who are helping you are not creative problem solvers themselves, or have very narrow ideas about your situation, then they are not likely to be much help. They can even make your problem worse. If you want to brainstorm with others, make sure you seek idea’s from people with open minds, people with the confidence to see all possibilities and accept new ideas. Working with people like this can strengthen your skills, and you will get a better solution to your problem.
Effective problem solvers are those who don’t easily give up in tough situations. They are persistent in how they think and act. If you believe that there is a way to solve a problem, then you should persist until that solution is found and implemented. Learning to be more self-disciplined can help you stick with it when issues get tough, making you a better problem solver overall.
Start at the End
Sometimes, you can’t find a solution by starting at the beginning. Instead, it is sometimes necessary, to begin with, your desired outcome and work backward from there to determine how to begin solving the problem. Working backward is known as reverse engineering, and it is an effective strategy for addressing all types of issues. Practicing this skill often can help you use it more readily in crises and when problems have more at stake.
Becoming an effective problem solver is as much about developing the right habits of mind as it is about skill. Being open, enthusiastic, and meticulous are all good mental habits of effective problem solvers. Learning to think proactively can help you avoid many problems before they even start. And being curious about the world is always helpful in finding possible solutions, too.