Good problem solving skills are important in every aspect of your life. Everyone has problems to solve every day ranging from the trivial to important issues. The problems range from financial, education, personal, professional, career, marriage, dating, etc to just name a few. Solving your problems require a strategy! What is the best approach to problem solving? I am glad you asked! Here are the basic steps to problem solving.
Defining the Problem
This is the hardest part of problem solving. If you cannot define the problem, you cannot solve it. I find the better the question the better the answer. In this case, the clearer we can define the problem, the more likely we can find a solution. Start with what you want to do about it. Why is it a problem? How important is the problem? What is the objective? What is unknown? I like to put the problem into a question such what do I need to do to achieve a particular goal?
There is never one solution for a problem! There are many alternative solutions and you need to think about all of them so you can find the right solution. Which one is the best solution? There are pros and cons to all solutions, which one makes the best sense? I order to find the best one; you need to go through the top three (3) choices for example. Weight loss may have two (2) broad solutions; diet and exercise. Which diet and exercise is right for you?
All right, you came up with a dozen solutions. What are the top three (3) best solutions? Which are the best solutions? Using my example of weight loss, which diet is something you can stick with and actually lose weight. Personally I hate diets, so I would take a different approach. I would look for reducing my current eating habits by one hundred (100) calories a day. One of my tricks is replacing snacks or other items with lower calorie choices. Then I pick an exercise or activity I enjoy such as bicycling, swimming or walking to support the weight loss.
Make a decision! If you are picking a diet, you can always pick another solution. If you are picking a college, you may want to do it with more care because making a change could materially affect you. In other words, there is a range of decisions from diet to picking a college, buying a home or finding a mate. I would spend considerable time on the more important problems of life versus something that I can do over without consequences.
I review all of my decisions to learn from my mistakes and successes. It is a great way to improve your judgment and improve you problem solving skills. Did your solution work? If so, you made a great solution. If not, changes would you make? Was there a better alternative that you should consider? Don’t expect to bat a thousand (1,000) because no one is right all the time. Learn from your mistakes and do better next time.
Problem solving skills are very important! If you have good problem solving skills, you can avoid a lot of mistakes. Making a bad choice may mean trying another solution or in some cases you have a bigger problem. Imagine you bought a house at the height of the real estate market; you just cannot sell the house and take the loss. Making the wrong choice will affect your credit and much more. Some decisions require much more thought than others because the consequences are much more. How’s your problem solving skills?
Photo by: Mavis
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How’s your problem solving skills?
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