“When life gives you a lemon, make lemonade.” -Anonymous
Regardless of who you are or what you do, you will face ‘challenging opportunities’. How you deal with such challenges will often be a determining factor in how successful you are in life. Top people in every field are intensively solution-oriented.
Problem solving refers to a state of desire for reaching a definite ‘goal’ from a present condition that either is not directly moving forward the goal, is far from it, or needs more complex logic for finding a missing description of conditions or steps toward the goal.
Yõko Ogawa once said, “Solving a problem for which you know there’s an answer is like climbing a mountain with a guide, along a trail someone else has laid. In mathematics, the truth is somewhere out there in a place no one knows, beyond all the beaten paths. And it’s not always at the top of the mountain. It might be in a sack on the smoothest cliff or somewhere deep in the value.”
Top people realise that every problem is an opportunity to grow in self-control and personal confidence. In fact, you will rise in life to the height of the problems that you are capable of solving. You rise in your profession in direct proportion to your ability to solve the problems and make the necessary decisions at each level of your career.
Let’s take a look at the proven and timeless formula for problem solving and decision making.
Step 1: Discover the Problem. Albert Einstein, said “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solution. So, you need to ask yourself the following questions, “Where am I?”, “Why am I here?”, “Is this where I am suppose to be?” You have to discover the problem before you move on to the deal of solving it.
Step 2: Resist Self-Pity. We cannot afford the luxury of self-pity. You need to be hard on yourself when you find yourself asking questions such as: ‘But why me?’ and ‘What have I done to deserve this?’ Sympathising friends are no friends at all, when we are in the process of being scandalised we need friends who will call us up. Mary Kay Ash said, “For every failure, there’s an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour.”
Step 3: Keep a Balance Overview of the Problem. Very often what appears to be a problem or a setback is actually an opportunity in disguise and there are also some things that you can do nothing about, as there are thing you can correct or adjust. Define the problem. “No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking.” says Voltaire.
Step 4: Receive firm counsel. Don’t go seeking counsel from those who you know will be empathetic because they themselves are already scandalised. Seek help from some reliable person who you know is not pragmatic or economic with the truth but principled. Most atimes, your most expensive advice is the free advice you receive from your financially struggling friends or relatives.
Step 5: Develop a strategy. Jim Rohn said, “Success is 20% skills and 80% strategy. You might know how to read, but more importantly, what’s your plan to read?” Select a solution, decide on a course of action. Every minute you spend in planning saves 10minutes in execution; this gives you a 1000 percent Return on Energy!
Step 6: Take Steps. Brian Tracy said, “The act of taking the first step is what separates the winner from the loser.” How true!
Let us settle one issue before we go any further; failure could be inevitable, no matter how careful we may be. We may adopt the best proven back-up systems money can buy, we may take diligent care in delegating responsibility to the most gifted, trusted person one could wish to find. The proper handling of failure is almost a prerequiste to becoming mature. Failure is part of the maturing process. Consider Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison etc.
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” said by Albert Einstein and Anthony Robbins also said, “I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustrations were actually laying the foundation for understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.” It takes a little courage, a little self control and a deal of striving. Action is the foundational key to all success.
The main reward you get for solving problems is opportunity to solve bigger and more important problems. Success, happiness and leadership are not about making speeches or being liked, but the ability to solve problems.
The ultimate goal of problem-solving is to overcome obstacles and find a solution that best resolves the issues.
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