Solve Any Problem With This 10 Step Approach


Everyone faces problems in their lives. The way one responds to problems largely determines the outcome of one’s life.

People who hail themselves at their problems with ill or no preparation are often swarmed with hysteria and confusion. By taking random, untargetted approach, it is as good as shooting in the dark. You may wind up shooting yourself. It is without wonder that people who take on their problems without much thought or decision end up going in circles without much progress … or end up in a worse position than they were.

The Ultimate 10 Steps to Follow

Here is a 10-step procedure for you to take to solve your problems systematically. Critical thinking and creative problem solving skills will be harnessed for you to put your problem-busting skills to steroid levels.

1) Careful Description of the Problem

Sometimes, a word makes a big difference in the way we view a problem. We associate the word ‘problem’ with something bad, negative or difficult. So try switching to more positive or neutral words such as ‘situation’ or ‘challenge’ or ‘opportunity’. The intent is to psyche your mind to handle the problem with greater ease. Them more positive your description of the problem is, the more optimistic you will be when tackling the issue. The more optimistic you get, the more creative and insightful you will be in finding solutions and breakthroughs.

2) Clearly Analyze The Situation Or Problem

What is the exact issue? What is the impact of this issue on you? What worries / scares / demoralizes / paralyzes you in this situation? Why are you affected? Write it out clearly in detail. If you can, list down what are objective concerns and what are subjective / emotive responses.

3) Look at the Problem from Various Perspectives and Angles Through Critical Thinking

A good question to start asking yourself might be, “Who are the stakeholders or contributing factors in this problem?” Knowing the stakeholders and factors gives you a range of perspectives that you can view the problem from, thereby coming up with more comprehensive strategies to tackle the problem.

Do not be satisfied with your initial solution to the problem. Check and double check if there are loopholes, opportunities for relapse or ways to attack the root of the problem. Ask yourself, “What else is the problem?” Do not be satisfied with a superficial answer. Settling for the first solution that comes to mind may be just scratching the surface, dealing with only the symptom and not the cause. Allocate time to sit down and brainstorm for different solutions. Pick the most suitable solution, decide which are the alternative solutions should the main one fail and discard others that are irrelevant.

4) Be Crystal Clear of What The Solution Must Do

What do you need the solution to do? What components must the solution have? What would your optimal solution look like? Pin point the parameters well.

5) Choose The Best Solution To Tackle Your Problem

Weigh the pros and cons of the solutions you come up with for the issue. What is the best you can do that is suitable for the current time?

6) Hope for The Best, Prepare for The Worst

Always have in mind contingencies that can help you to continue your problem solving if your initial choice of solution does not work. Things happen and sometimes things do not go the way we intended to so it is important to stay flexible to adjust and adapt our problem solving methods.

7) Have a Yardstick for Your Progress

Find criteria to assess your progress. Be aware what to look out for if the solution is a good one. List down the signals of a solution turned sour. Think of what to do if you need to change your solution. Are you able to compare the various alternative solution when the need arises to switch to them?

8) Be Accountable For Your Decision

You are the sole reason for your decision. Be accountable to what you chose to do. Take credit when your solution works. Take responsibility when your solution does not work. Have the humility to admit your mistakes and the courage to make amends.

9) Put a Timeline to Each Problem to be Solved

Once you have made the decision on the solution, proceed promptly without delay. Keeping a deadline is an effective way to ensure progress. Discussion is nothing without timeline. From setting a series of short term deadlines to having a long term a schedule for reporting, timelines are there as signposts for checking.

With proper deadline planning, you will know easily and quickly if you are on time or falling behind schedule.

10) Finally … Act on It!

Thinking of a solution is one thing. Doing it is another. To make full use of your problem busting solution, you need to act with a sense of urgency. The quicker you take steps in the correct direction, the more open your options will be. Taking actions put you in an active stance rather than a passive stance, a proactive position rather than a reactive position. Once you kick start, you will find more momentum. Like the old adage goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.


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