Become an Effective Problem Solver

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.


Remain Objective

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 actual solutions to your situation. Sometimes, you may have become too married to a particular idea, and when it didn’t work out, you get disappointed. Other time, 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 solutions are often discovered when you try something new or think outside the box. Learning to 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 important to remember that, some solutions can trigger additional reactions, which could result in further complications. When trying to decide 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. This can help improve your chances of success and be better prepared for the consequences of your choice.


Ask Open-Minded People for Advice

When you are trying to solve a problem, you may think that any help would be beneficial. But, if the people who are helping you aren’t good problem solvers themselves, or have very narrow ideas about your situation, then they are not likely to be much help. In fact, they can even make your problem worse. If you want to enlist the help of others, make sure you seek guidance 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 own skills, and you will get a better solution to your problem.


Practice Persistence

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 problems get really tough, making you a better problem solver overall.


Start at the End

Sometimes, you can’t arrive at a solution by starting at the beginning. Instead, it is sometimes necessary to start with your desired outcome and work backward from there to determine how to begin solving the problem. This 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 crisis situations and when problems have more at stake.


Final Thoughts

Becoming a better 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.

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