Got a problem you just can’t solve? Here are some steps you should always take to try and overcome it… Read on and there’s a very good chance you’ll be able to solve whatever it is that’s troubling you right now.
Step 1: Calm Down
Getting in a flap really isn’t going to help if you’re struggling to solve a problem. Problem solving essentially comes down to creativity – the ability to think outside the box and to find possible ways to address issues that others might have missed. When you’re stressed, your brain goes into a kind of ‘tunnel vision’ mode which completely hampers that crucial creativity. So the first thing to do is step back and breathe slowly to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and to get a handle on your emotions.
Step 2: Define the Problem
Issues and problems are different things and sometimes it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. Instead of panicking about all the things that can go wrong and everything you need to take into account, write down the single ‘problem’ you are trying to face in a few words. Your car won’t start, you’re cold, you’re lost, you’re late, you’re hungry… really that’s just one problem: your car won’t start.
Step 3: Reword the Problem
Or maybe the problem is ‘you have no mode of transport’. Sometimes rewording the problem can help you to come to a solution.
Step 4: List Your Resources
The next thing to do is to list the resources available to you that might be able to help you solve the problem. List the people who might be able to help, list the tools you have to use, list the raw materials and more. And break down those resources more – you don’t just have a friend, you have a contact which means you have their contacts. You don’t just have a box, you have cardboard and a container.
Step 5: Make a Mind Map
Creating a mind map to represent your problem can often help a lot. This way you can note it down on paper which allows you to take a step back from it and to examine it more impartially. Likewise, it means that you can write down all the related aspects and all those resources and start to see new connections you might previously have missed.
Step 6: Ask for Help
There should be no shame in asking for help when you have an insurmountable problem. Outsourcing or getting help in itself is a viable solution to many problems!