In business and life in general, we’re taught to solve problems using a methodical process of defining an issue, identifying options, evaluating outcomes and implementing solutions. This all sounds fairly straightforward, until you try to do it. People who are exceptional at problem solving, often take a much more creative approach.
Here’s a look at how they do it.
Practice mindfulness for objective problem solving.
Practice remaining objective
The problem with problems, is that we often view them subjectively. When you only view things from your own position, you’re likely to be influenced by biases, emotions and personal history. No doubt you’ve experienced this, while on the receiving end of someone else’s subjective point of view. So, you understand how hard it is to bring them around to the bigger picture, or to acknowledge yours.
When you stand back to look at a problem objectively, you remove emotion and invite rationality in. This neutral stance allows for calm thinking, logical discussion and the ability to take new directions to find appropriate solutions. If you find it difficult to remove stress, anxiety or fixed thinking in the midst of an issue, practice mindfulness via meditation, yoga or simply taking deep breaths. It helps by bringing you back into the present to deal with the reality of a problem, rather than what the thought of it conjures.
Look for new pathways
After all, if Google gave us the perfect answer to everything, all problems would cease to exist.
Creative thinking leads to creative action that solves problems. Though it pays to do your research, gather facts and take data into account, don’t get stuck and waste time searching for a solution that’s already in existence. After all, if Google gave us the perfect answer to everything, all problems would cease to exist.
Creative thinking involves asking open-ended questions that lead to an array of possibilities, whether it’s to yourself or within a group. This encourages expanded thought processes, conversations and effective communication. Even if new pathways to solutions seem outrageous at first, it’s in those discussions that you’ll find tiny gems of genius to work into logistical solutions.
Surround yourself with open-minded people for innovative problem solving.
Surround yourself with open-minded people
The one thing that puts a roadblock on the path to problem solving, is judgment. Open-minded people tend to suspend judgement in favour of curiosity, which leads to innovative ideas. Especially in the case of group brainstorming, when someone’s idea is quickly shut down by another’s judgement or ego, the process is delayed and, in fact, more issues may arise.
People with the ability to look beyond their own past experiences, are generally the best problem solvers. If you work by yourself, seek open-minded mentors through books, podcasts or documentaries, to enhance expanded thought processes.
Problem solved? You’re well on your way.
Nicole Leigh West
Nicole Leigh West is the author of fiction novel, 'The Gypsy Trail' and an internationally recognised travel and lifestyle writer.
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