How to Solve Problems for Dummies

4 ways to approach your problems in an more effective way

The human existence is part and parcel with suffering. And problems. And challenges. And more unsolvable problems. And very few solutions.

As a result, we the puny humans, spend the majority of our days on this earth trying to put aside those great immovable obstacles that life threw in our way.

I do it. You do it. Everyone does it.

And this is not necessarily a bad thing to do since by thinking about our problems, we manage to find solutions and to progress in life finally.

But no one is receiving a proper education of how to approach their life problems. And as a result, we all find ourselves in vicious circles.

We try the wrong solutions over and over only to trigger an eternal loophole from hell.

“gray mini figure under white sneaker” by James Pond on Unsplash

In our eyes, our problems look like mountains and our solutions like uneducated gambles. The result seems defined even before we try.

We will fail. And we will continue thinking about our problems day and night.

But the issue with our problem-solving skills is that we have either a defective thinking process or an inappropriate problem-solving mechanism in our head.

1. Break the spell

This is amazingly obvious. But still is the step that most of us fail to do.

We are getting eaten alive by our issues and life challenges, and we do not share our frustration with our close trustees who can give a fresh look to the problem that we are making mental loops around.

We do this all the time with ideas. They sound a lot better in our heads. And as soon as they leave our lips, we understand their irrelevance or insignificance.

Saying out loud our problem has the opposite effect. It breaks the spell. Something magical happens inside us.

An issue sounds a lot less scary or insolvable as soon as it is communicated orally. As soon as you hear your own words.

And who knows, your close friends might be decent problem-solvers and offer a good solution right off the bat. Or maybe not.

But the attempt to formulating your problem out loud will initiate a different thinking process in your brain.

Albert Einstein said that if you cannot explain it, then you do not understand it yourself.

By reverse engineering this, to accurately define your problem, you will be forced to have a better understanding of it.

This is the best way of poking holes in your current angle of looking at a problem since you will find yourself tieing loose ends here and there as you progress with the explanations of the constituents.

2. First Strategize, then Dominate

Apart from discussing your problem with someone you can always try to give your brain a break.

The biggest processing speed drainer in a problem-solving situation is trying to remember and to combine all the facts and the constituents.

At the same time, our brain processes everything in a one-dimensional sequence.

The most excellent way to tackle this is by writing down all the essential aspects of your challenge in a piece of paper (you will get style points for utilising a blackboard).

This gives you a two-dimensional overview of your issue.

Then you can shuffle the deck of known facts and draw conclusions that you could not perform previously.

“yellow and blue hot air balloon at daytime” by Will O on Unsplash

3. First Inflate it, then Deflate it

A classic managerial technique is to put a person in a hypothetical scenario where their original problem is 10 or even 100 times harder.

So instead of trying to figure out how you will increase your sales by 10.000€, try to figure out how you will increase your sales by 100.000€ or even 1.000.000€.

All of a sudden a new perspective is forced into play.

The current problem seems irrelevant and the whole thinking process needs to be conceptualized from the beginning.

This technique allows us to understand that there are greater problems than the ones we face right now.

And it also acts as an indication that our initial thinking process is insufficient hence a completely different solution is required.

4. Screw your problem

The one thing that we need to understand is that we cannot solve all problems.

And even worst, us trying to solve an existing tough situation might be our pain point from the beginning.

Maybe apathy is the original solution we should have employed from the beginning.

Maybe the fact that you try to solve an existing problem creates a material domino effect in your life.

Maybe you see ghosts where you shouldn’t.

Maybe your perspective is completely off, creating the impression that if you do not approach this or that situation as the valiant knight with the shining armour that you are not worthy enough.

“man standing under gray bridge” by sebastiaan stam on Unsplash

Thus, my best proposition if everything else fails is not to do anything.

And to try to redefine the narrative of the problem to yourself.

Everything is a matter of perspective.

Do not solve problems just for the sake of it. Try to improve your life.

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