WHEN IT COMES TO SOLVING problems, using
a formal procedure works better than letting your mind wander,
so I have one for you. It involves four steps, and you do them
in order. These steps are ancient. You could almost say this
is the method to solve a problem. Anything else is less
efficient and less effective. When you look them over you may
think this is all very obvious and you can easily see why this
method will work. But the important thing is using it.
When you are confronting a problem, use this method:
1. Clarify the problem. Attempt
to write down what the problem is, specifically. Writing it down
is better than doing it in your head. Use a lot of paper on this
one; its an important process. Write something down, then
try to improve on it. Keep working until you have a clear, simple
statement of the problem.
2. List the causes. What has caused
this problem? Usually a problem has more than one cause. List
3. Create possible solutions. This
is where you can use your imagination. During this stage, first
come up with all the ideas you can think of. Then kick back and
relax. Use your imagination. Let your mind ponder the problem
in its own way, as if you were daydreaming about possible solutions.
Look at it from different perspectives. How would an old sea
captain look at this problem? How would Gandhi look at this problem?
You dont know how those people would actually look
at the problem. But you can use your imagination and that will
get you out of your habitual point of view. Let your mind wander,
but keep bringing it back to the problem. Dont work at
it. Do it in a way that is playful and fun. And stop every once
in a while and jot down some ideas.
4. Select your favorite solution and
try it. You have a collection of possible solutions, and
reading through them probably sparked some more ideas. Write
them all down. Then look over your ideas and choose what you
think is the finest solution among them. Now put it into action.
YOUR SOLUTION wont always work. No
big deal if it doesnt you have others to try. Take
this step-by-step approach and youll gain traction and
equilibrium and a feeling of control something that really
helps when youve got a problem to deal with.
Problems are an important part of life,
and its always in your best interest to improve your ability
to create good solutions. Mastering this formal procedure will
help. It may be the shortest distance between a problem and a
To solve a problem:
Define the problem, list the
think up possible solutions, and pick the best one.