Scientists who study the brain and understand the processes that occur in it recommend that we solve problems from the end to the beginning, that is, we have to think about the solution, not the problem. This is because our brain finds it hard to find the solution when we concentrate on the problem. It’s often busy imagining extreme situations that may arise. Thus, the correct approach to problem-solving is to recognize that there is a problem and then to bring up the possible solutions to it, before the mind is flooded with all that it brings with it.
This may sound obvious to you, but you must make sure that you are concentrating on solving the right problem that’s really bothering you. We usually look for shortcuts to help fix our situation quickly, but this doesn’t help us solve the root of the problem, and therefore its various forms will continue to emerge later on.
For example, if your problem is that you feel exhausted all the time, you may think that what you need is more sleep and rest, but it may be that your problem is not related to the amount of sleep you have, but to health problems or work-related stress. So to solve such a problem, for example, go to the doctor or to your superior and don’t just rely on a long weekend nap solving it.
Problems make us feel uncomfortable, so we try to solve them as quickly as possible.. However, it is important to slow down and take your time when trying to think about a solution, instead of immediately jumping on any option that seems appropriate to us. Not only will this help you reach more correct conclusions and decisions, but you will also be able to provide yourself with breathing space and a quick break from the problems that have not yet been resolved.
Many times when you stop thinking about a problem and return to it after a while, the solution becomes clearer and easier to find, because even when you stop trying to solve a problem, the subconscious does not forget it and still works to find a solution – this is what helps you come up with fresh new ideas after a healthy break.
It is easy to get stressed when faced with a problem that affects our lives and disrupts our plans, but this pressure negatively affects the clarity of our thought and creativity when trying to find a solution to problems. All the adrenaline that floods your body distracts you and does not allow you to relax or think in a balanced way. So, to develop proper problem-solving skills, take a few breaths, go for a walk, and do anything else to help you remain calm and stay clear headed.
To understand your problems in depth there is a little trick that can be done with the brain that children use all the time when something is troubling their minds – asking “why?” For example, if your problem is that you always order in and don’t have enough time to prepare healthy food at home, ask yourself, “Why did I order in?” This question will lead you to answers that will lead you to other questions until you understand why you’re really doing what you’re doing:
• Why did I order in? Because there is no fresh food at home
• Why is there no fresh food at home? Because I don’t have time to cook.
• Why don’t I have time to cook? Because after work I immediately plop down on the couch and rest.
Now, after only three questions, you can understand that the problem is not just ordering in, but time management that does not allow you time to cook. At this stage, you should think about a solution that is possible and desirable for you, such as changing your routine so that one day a week you’ll cook after work for the rest of the week, or cook over the weekend. Another solution might be one that you work out with your employer which will allow you to leave earlier one day a week to prepare food for the rest of the week.
Most problems are complicated, and if they actually aren’t, they sure seem it to us. If your problem is financial, for example, you might think of all the parts that make up the problem such as your low salary, frivolous spending, or not investing time in a second job. Suddenly you begin to consider asking for a raise, a career change, or starting your own business. All of these may help, but if you consider these solutions complex and difficult to do, you’ll still treat your problem as complicated and you won’t be able to simplify it properly.
Once you’ve simplified your problem into solvable parts, work on each one separately, eventually solving the big problem. Do not try to fix them all together, slowly work on each one and eventually the problem will disappear even without you noticing.
If you continue to persist in that unsuccessful approach to solving a certain problem, you will only continuously stress yourself when it is not resolved. For example, many of us want to get in shape and do it by creating a schedule that we promise we’ll stick to, but most people fail to meet that aspiration. If you continue to try this approach without making progress you will only experience stronger feelings of guilt than before. Instead of thinking forward from the present moment to the long-awaited goal, think broadly and open your mind to other options and solutions. Sometimes even a totally opposite approach is the one that will help you.
For example, if you plan to go to the gym several times a week but don’t end up doing it, you may want to try to bring the gym to you in different ways. It can be in the form of a personal trainer that will encourage you to invest in yourself, or regularly watching home exercise videos. Another solution may be to exercise at a location other than the gym, such as a park close to home or even the beach.
One of the best problem-solving tips is not to say “no” to any solution. Write down any possible solution that comes to mind for a problem you are dealing with, even if it seems silly and can’t really be used. Why should you do this? Because this method will enable you not to suppress your creativity, which will lead you to more creative, more effective solutions. Along with all the other tips you’ve learned here, this method will help you solve any problem in a way that suits you and your lifestyle.
These tips look simple on their own, but together they can make a big difference to your life. If you develop a correct approach to problem-solving you can be more effective in your work, and if you’ve experienced a lot of stress lately because of the problems that are afflicting you, it can also improve your relationship with the people you live with. The important thing is to slow down your pace and keep thinking creatively thinking about solutions that will help you get out of your situation, not the problems that make your life difficult.