Each stage of life has its own problem solving challenges from childhood through adulthood and into old age. Some obstacles include health or medical issues, change in status, stubbornness of hA new day for problem solvingabits and loss of friends and spouses. Whatever situation you are facing, a positive resolution or outcome is hoped for. However, what has worked before may or may not be applicable to your present situation so a variety of skills are needed and a few things may need to be tried. Remember, every day is a new day!


Tips for Problem Solving

  1. Imagine the outcome you want. Use your creativity and imagination. A problem is a situation in need of a solution. Some solutions are more apparent than others. Throughout our day and lives we are finding a solution to some situation. What to have for dinner, how to get to where we are going, how to keep a budget, etc.
  2. Being Confident is essential – come up with several options and consider each one – from the outlandish to the more practical. We feel more confident when we see more options.  It is important to gain a feeling of “being in control” when facing a problem, that you control things rather than they controlling you.
  3. Curiosity lights up our “higher brain” which we need for problem solving. Our “lower brain” tends to be more reactive to fear and frustration. Triggering our curiosity helps to ignite the brain to plan and to imagine other possibilities.
  4. You know what they say about ASSUME…  don’t figure an idea won’t work and dismiss it too quickly.  Consider each idea as an option, the more options, the better chance at solutions.
  5. Aging often makes us risk averse as we stick to the familiar rather than trying a new tact. Time to be bold if what you usually try doesn’t work. Being bolder beats just being older.
  6. Solo solving doesn’t always work. Few things happen in a vacuum so ask for help. Speak with folks you usually don’t approach. You never know when or where a good idea comes from.
  7. Get your creative juices flowing by asking new questions, or approaching the problem in a different way. Ask new or different questions which can lead to new solutions.
  8. Cut negativity loose. Whether negative people or negative ideas have a hold on you, break away as they prevent you reaching your goal of a positive solution to your problem.
  9. Find the positive people to spend time with. Positive people spark new ideas and energy to get to your solution. Positive energy begets positive energy which gets you going in the right direction.
  10. Stay the course. You may need to “try and try again” so be persistent. Important things don’t happen so easily, they take work and patience. Consider all ideas and pursue them the best you can until you either have success or have run out of options. Not every problem is solvable in the way we hope.

Sometimes the Goal has to be changed

If you have exhausted all of your ideas and have retooled but still do not reach your goal, you may have to reassess the entire problem or project and adjust to the reality of it. Not every problem has the solution, sometimes “it is what it is” and as humans we adapt… hopefully the best we can. Not every problem needs these ten steps and sometimes a problem needs steps to be repeated. Share your thoughts with trusted folks and with strangers too. Wisdom comes from many places.