Problems are universal – we can all use a little help with problem solving.
You’ve probably noticed that some problems are easier to solve than others! And depending upon your mood and how much food and sleep you’ve had it’s easier to solve difficult problems on some days than it is on other days!
We’ve all had days where issues come up and you are on your game and your brain is easily in decision-making mode. The solutions just flow and problem solving comes easily.
We’ve all had days where issues start to get complicated and paralyze your problem solving skills. Sometimes a problem will come along that can be so complex it can knock the wind out of you and cause you to lose momentum. It’s as if one paralyzed issue leads to another and you start to feel stuck and overwhelmed.
I can’t take away your problems and I certainly don’t want to minimize what you’re going through but I do want to give you a few simple practical suggestions to help you solve problems.
Simply put – Every problem has 2 parts: an issue and options for a solution
Step 1 – When problems come up – remember to pause for a moment and take a deep breath in and let it out.
Re-adjust your posture so you can keep the oxygen flowing through your body. Think of oxygen as a chemical that is de-complicating your mind and making a pathway for the solutions. Even when you have urgent issues take a moment to breathe and to collect your thoughts. Breathing helps you make a good decision rather than emotionally reacting to an issue.
Step 2 – Pray the Serenity prayer or your own simple prayer.
Praying helps you recognize that you are not alone and that wisdom is available to you.
Step 3 – Jot down or say aloud the problem as clearly as you can, simplifying it into its most basic issue.
Even if it’s a complicated problem with layers of issues there will be corresponding layers of solutions. Take one at a time 🙂
Step 4 – Freely brainstorm solutions.
Write all the solutions down or say them aloud. Start with the craziest impractical solution first – it actually will help calm your mind down and trigger practical solutions.
Let’s use a scheduling problem as an example. Imagine you’ve scheduled yourself to be two places at the same time and both are equally important. What are some completely impractical ways to solve this problem?
You could hire a look alike.
Find a scientist and create a doppelgänger.
Ask your mom if you have a secret identical twin.
This crazy brainstorming is not a waste of time – it actually helps your mind calm down and it reigns in your panicked imagination, which then redirects your creativity to help you solve the problem. Once you come up with a few crazy ideas your brain will settle into more reasonable options from which you can choose the best.
Step 5 – Choose the best problem solving solution and do it!
The reality is that you might not like any of your options since the solutions to problems often involve spending time or money. But making the difficult decision anyway and doing what needs to done, will give you a sense of satisfaction as you are conquering the obstacle and solving the problem!
Remember to Keep it Simple, Sweetie!
All the best,