solution problems solvingSolution for Problems

More than One Way to Skin a Cat: Adventures in Creative Thinking

People have Problems…

How many times have you caught yourself saying that there could be no other solution to a problem – and that that #problem leads to a dead end? How many times have you felt stumped knowing that the problem laying before you is one you cannot solve. No leads.  No options.  No #solution.

No Solution in Sight

Does it feel like you had exhausted all possible options and yet are still before the mountain – large, unconquerable, and impregnable? When encountering such enormous problems, you may feel like you’re hammering against a steel mountain. The pressure of having to solve such a problem may be overwhelming.

But rejoice! There might be some hope yet!

Creative Problem Solving

With some creative problem solving techniques you may be able to look at your problem in a different light. And that light might just be the end of the tunnel that leads to possible solutions.

First of all, in the light of creative problem solving, you must be open-minded to the fact that there may be more than just one solution to the problem. And, you must be open to the fact that there may be solutions to problems you thought were unsolvable.

Now, with this optimistic mindset, we can try to be a little bit more creative for solutions.

Solving Problems Consciously…

So that you can learn though this experience, I will first point out what most people will do to solve a problem whenever you are working only from the #conscious side. I want to point out just how laborious and consuming this is. It takes on a life of its own.

Qualify Your Problem

First, maybe the reason we cannot solve our problems is that we have not really taken a hard look at what the problem is. Here, in a conscious way, understanding the problem and its workings is integral for solving the problem. This is a typical strategy most people use. If you know how it works, what the problem is, then you have a better foundation towards solving the problem.

Not yet making a simple statement of what problem is, identify the participating entities and what their relationships with one another are. Take note of the things you stand to gain any stand to lose from the current problem. Your potential gain or loss is a point of stress. It tends to block you from seeing the obvious. Keeping that in mind, you can develop a simple statement of what the problem is.

Take Notes

Take note of all of the constraints, and assumptions; including your stress you have. Qualify which assumptions are valid, and which assumptions need to be addressed.

Solve your Problem in Layers

When working from your every-day conscious state of mind, you would likely choose to solve the problem by parts. Solve it going from general view towards the more detailed parts of the problem. This is called the top-down approach. Write down the question, and then come up with a one-sentence solution to that from the question. Your solution should be a general statement of what will solve the problem. From there you can develop the solution further, and increase its complexity little by little.

Creative and Analytical Solution…

Before I reveal this next part, I feel obligated to tell you something important. I am telling you about the conscious way of dealing with problems… But analytical and creative in this case are in opposition because they come from opposite sides of your brain. That in itself will cause a conflict and can directly influence and endanger the results of your efforts to reach a solution. Even though this is a step by step logical approach, you are in serious danger of things spiraling out of control.

Therefore… Although it helps to have critical thinking aboard as you solve a problem, you must also keep a creative, analytical voice at the back of your head. When someone comes up with a prospective solution, consciously think how you could make that solution work. Try to be creative. At the same time, look for chinks in the armor of that solution. There is a good chance you will find some. each one must be addressed as well.

Good Memory Pays Dividends…

It pays to remember that there may be more than just one solution being developed at one time; possibly by more than just yourself. Try to keep track of all the solutions and their developments. Remember, there may be more than just one solution to the problem.

If More than One Person involved…

Remember that old adage,two heads are better than one for problems solution.” That one is truer than it sounds. Always be open to new ideas. You can only benefit from listening to all the ideas each person has. This is especially true when the person you’re talking to has had experience solving problems similar to yours.

You don’t have to be a hero to solve the problem. If you can organize collective thought on the subject, it would be much better.

Commitment to Solve the Problem

Be patient. As long as you persevere, there is always a chance that a solution will present itself. RIGHT!!! Hah! Actually, it more likely that your subconscious is what steps into the fray, even without your knowledge, to present a clear path to the solution. It usually happens overnight, when you have slept. But in most cases your conscious mind will be given the credit.

Creative Thinking Works…

Creative thinking exercises can also help you in your quest be a more creative problems solver.

Here is one example.

The next time you have a problem you want to solve (Yes, you actually must want to solve it.), before going to bed to sleep, think about the problem. Then tell yourself you will know the solution when you wake up. Eureka! When you wake up in the morning, there is the solution. This method is called “Sleeping on it.” Most everyone has done this before, because it works.

So, next time you see a problem you think you can not solve, think again. The solution might just be staring you right in the face. All it takes is just a little #CreativeThinking, some planning, and a whole lot of work.

The SECRET to Problem Solving…

I hope you got this far in this article. The method I described to you above is truly time consuming and labor intensive. Sure, it may look good on paper when the Boss asks you for a progress report. But, at the end of the day, what is most important? Satisfying the Boss’s attention to detail or solving the problem? Probably a little of both; with the end result of solving the problem, which makes you the Champion!

You can still do all the remedial work if needed. But when faced with a fast #ProblemSolving, put it to the real doer of your brain; your subconscious mind. It will give you results far faster than writing down the details in your report.

Shannon Panzo, PhD

Great Things Happen Here!