A Psychologist’s Tips on Problem Solving

A Psychologist's Tips on Problem Solving

We all at times experience problems and seek solutions. How we go about seeking solutions will determine how speedily and successfully we resolve problems.

But that’s not all when we attempt to solve a problem and fail the failed solution becomes part of the problem. This makes the original problem more complicated and difficult to solve. However by understanding a little psychology we can avoid failed solutions and become effective at problem solving. Errors in problem solving can be both time consuming and costly so it’s well worthwhile learning to avoid them. Sometimes the stakes are much higher for example damage to a relationship with partner or family.

There are 5 mistakes, which we are hard wired to make. Read on to learn how to avoid them.

1/ Constantly repeating the same failed solution. Whenever we encounter a problem if we have met it or something similar before we always return to the last successful solution. At one level this makes total sense we use our pre-existing knowledge rather than having to think through every situation from square one. This approach however does not take into account changing circumstances. For example you are hungry It’s 11pm and there is nothing in the fridge. You pop down the road to the nearest take away. That provided a successful solution the last time this problem occurred. it’s changed it’s opening hours or closed down. Your wasted journey could have been avoided had you phoned ahead to check out if anything had changed and by having alternative solutions available.

2/ Trying everything but giving nothing an opportunity to work. A youngster with teenage spots might for example try a particular spot cream for two days decide it isn’t effective and change brands. A couple of days later he decides that this one isn’t working either and changes to a third. Any product or solution will appear to fail if not given adequate time to produce results. This equivalent to channel hopping in problem solving can only lead to frustration.

3/ The commonly held belief that a problem can be solved using a general concept. For example- “I will get a promotion by making more effort at work” Or ” I will improve my relationship with my teenage son by being nicer to him” What is needed here is an action plan with action steps. In the first example this could include always getting to work on time and volunteering to work on unpopular projects. In the second it could include spending more time talking with your teenage son or watching him play football.

4/ Focusing on the problem rather than the solution. Focusing on the problem can only keep you stuck where you are. It is only by focusing on the solution that you can find it.

5/ Using only the conscious level of mind in seeking a solution. Most people use only 10% of their minds. Imagine owning your ideal home and living only in the attic or basement. Or like trying to accomplish a physical task by using only one of your hands or feet rather than your whole body. Why would anyone do this? Because many people are not aware of the existence of their unconscious mind or if they are don’t know how to use it for their benefit.Learning the nature of your unconscious mind and how to use it for your benefit is a priceless investment in your self and in your future.