I once heard this lady say that as long as you’re alive, you are either facing a problem, coming out of a problem or on your way into a problem. We have all faced difficulties during various moments in our lives and we don’t always know how to face them. Our generation has perfected the art of ignoring problems and acting like they don’t exist which has led to a huge increase in mental illnesses/disorders and suicidal ideation especially among young people. You can learn how to solve problems and apply those skills in your personal and professional life. A lot of professions require coaching and practice In order to be a good problem solver.
1. What is the problem? Identify and understand the problem
You need clarity on what the problem is. Trying to solve the wrong problem will yield undesirable results. Gather your data by asking yourself what you know about the situation. Solving the problem without having the full picture of what it is will also not give you good results. Once you identify what the problem is and you gather the information, analyze the data by asking yourself the root cause(s) of the problem. Identify all the variables. This will enable you to have an adequate understanding of the problem which is an important first step.
2. Come up with a plan
Come up with several solutions to the problem then select the best one. Using rational and critical thinking as your tools, pick and devise a plan to solve the problem.
3. Put the plan to action
Solve the problem by executing the plan that you came up with. Implement your plan by applying your best solution.
4. Check, revise and interpret the problem
After executing your plan, go back and check whether the problem has been solved. Identify the things that need revising. See what works and what doesn’t work. In the event that the plan was ineffective, don’t be afraid to start again and come up with a new plan. Identify the areas that need improving.
We all need the patience to take a minute, step back and observe the problem at hand through a bigger picture. Only then can we approach problems through a lens of opportunity. The best problem solvers also had to practice and so can you!
By Wanjiru Muhoro | Writer