How to Solve Problems:  Constructive Approaches to Improving Problem-Solving Skills

The thought of solving problems and even improving your problem-solving skills may intimidate many because it sounds like such a daunting task. Problems in life are often so complicated, there are so many possibilities, and the stake is often so high, that many just feel a sense of helpless exasperation when confronted with a difficult problem. However, there are many ways to try to tackle and ultimately solve a problem. Improving your skills at problem solving is definitely one of the most basic and key skills in life.


Solve your problems beforehand. The best way to solve problems, as mentioned by Anthony Robbins, is to solve them in advance. That is one of the reasons that the Life Skills Articles have been compiled on this site—so that people can read about them and learn in advance what may come up in life. That is the best way to handle a problem. Solve the situation before it even becomes a problem. 

Especially worrisome are emergencies and disasters. That is another reason that solving problems in advance can be advantageous. For example, on this website's Life Goals Checklist, one of the items on the checklist is to take a first aid course. Similarly, if you live in a volcano zone, or an earthquake zone, it pays to know the safety precautions in advance and to act accordingly to prepare for such an emergency. 

Have fun and engage your creativity while solving problems. Solving problems is really a way of life. Everyone is confronted with problems everyday. Some may be more minor than others, but nonetheless, problems. Try not to get too stressed out when solving problems. You really should enjoy solving problems, for it lets you be creative. It's like a game. You get to choose among several alternatives which is the best route to take. The alternatives that you create are really an expression of your creativity. Plus, successfully solving a problem makes you feel that much more confident. As a bonus, if a similar problem arises, you will be much more comfortable in dealing with it. 

Being able to have top-notch problem-solving skills and solving problems is often why bosses hire you. As once source has stated, bosses hire you so that you can solve their problems, not so that you create more problems for them. So, solving problems is an integral part of everyone's life.

Glean insights from an expert to help you with your problem. There are many ways to solve problems. If you really are in a bind and stuck, the best way is to speak with an expert on the subject. You can choose one of your friends who is expert in that particular area. For example, one of your friends may be a human relations specialist and good at dealing with people, so talk to her. Another friend may be an expert on computers, so consult him. Of course, this road works both ways. You should always be on the alert as to how you can help your friends. Listen to them when they have problems of their own and share your own insights with them. It is often easier to give advice when you have a more detached perspective.

Learn from written sources. Honing problem-solving skills and solving problems may mean reading lots of books and websites on the subject. On the other hand, do not go overboard with the reading, as if you overwork to solve a problem, it usually means that there is an easier way to solve it.

Simplify your problem. So look for those easier ways to solve a problem. In fact, do you really need to solve the problem at all? Do you even need to see how you get to the other side of the city when one of the major bridges is under construction? Perhaps you don't even need to go there to buy your battery. Perhaps there's a store down that street that also sells batteries but you had forgotten about it because that's not one of the things that they carry a huge selection of. Look at the bigger picture. 

Devote some time to it. At the same time, it is sometimes necessary to devote some time to the problem even though you should not devote an inordinate amount of time to it. Think about the problem from time to time during the day (not when you're engaged in a task requiring concentration, though, such as driving).  Devote some time figuring out how to solve it. If you are a mechanic and trying to fix machine, you sometimes really do need to take apart the machine and see which part is working and which part is not. Solving a problem is similar. Dissect out the problem. Tackle one area at a time. Work and rework the problem inside out.

Try innovative approaches. Solving problems may mean compromising with others. It may mean combining your tasks and doing several of them at the same time. It may mean working a bit later one night but going to bed earlier the next night. Do not limit yourself to staying within the boundaries of your normal routines. Stretch your mind a little and see what you can think of.

Delay when required. Solving problems may mean delaying them for a later time when you have the resources and knowledge to handle them. Not all the problems of today must be solved today. You may be able to proceed gradually. Have some small conquests as you go your way in life. Leave other conquests for later. Eventually, you will conquer your big goal. For example, you may not have the necessary knowledge or skills yet at this time to deal with your problem, but you will gain that knowledge or those skills later on that will help you immensely in solving the problem with ease.

In fact, some of your problems even may just be nothing more than something that you are worrying over at that moment. If you feel that is the case but that problem is still nagging you, perhaps one of the simplest solutions is to keep a booklet where you can write down all these nagging problems. Tell yourself when you will come back to them. For example, if you think you are having a problem on Friday night after work, you can write it down and decide to deal with it maybe on Sunday night just before work the next day. Perhaps by then, you will feel that it's not even a problem anymore. Even if it were still a problem, you would have had some time to get away from the problem, making your mind more fresh to solve the problem at that time. Although delaying when required is a problem-solving skill that may become difficult at first, you will find that it is probably one of your most effect tools at effectively combating problems and increasing your skill at solving them.


Thus, although solving problems can be intimidating, there are many ways to alleviate the anxiety and the process itself. With experience, your problem-solving skills will likely improve and the process of solving problems will become quicker and easier with the successful resolution of each problem. You may also want to read some of the other sections in this site that may pertain to more specific problems that you may be interested in.

In summary, try any of these angles at resolving a problem and improving your problem-solving skills:

A. Solve your problem beforehand.
B. Have fun at solving problems and honing your problem-solving skills.
C. Glean insights from an expert.
D. Learn from written sources.
E. Simplify your problem.
F. Devote some time to it.
G. Try innovative approaches.
H. Delay when required.

 

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