Problem solving tends to be an under-appreciated skill, despite the fact that we make decisions every day, from choosing our outfit for the day to finding a place to have our meal.
Contrary to popular belief, however, it is an ability that can be developed as it enables us to overcome obstacles more effectively, thereby making our lives easier in our studies, career and every other aspect of life.
It is no wonder that problem solving is considered a highly valued skill by universities, employers and the public; the more capable we are as problem-solvers, the greater the opportunity for us to achieve success. This week we will look at some ways for you to boost your problem solving ability.
Reframe your process
The general process in problem solving goes like this: define a problem, generate options, examine and select options as solutions, execute solutions and review the process.
Yet some would solve the problem with emotions or prejudgement running high or without understanding the problem in-depth, leaving room for repeat errors in the future.
To avoid this, go through the problem solving process calmly and thoroughly by asking the right questions to create solutions (“what can we do?”, “what if … ”) instead of concentrating solely on the problem (“whose fault is it?”, “I don’t think …”).
Talking to others about the problem also helps as it gives you different points of view to consider in forming potential solutions.
Playing games that require strategy, creativity and analysis on a regular basis, such as puzzles, word games or math games, improves the strength and function of your problem solving ability progressively.
Increasingly, research has also shown the benefits of video games in enhancing problem solving skills along with spatial perception, reasoning and memory, among a wide range of other cognitive abilities.
Consider a brain workout through video games by playing different genres, from short-term action-adventure to long-term strategy or role-playing games.
Change your attitude
Ultimately, and like every other skill, your ability to solve problems begins with you.
Approach a problem with an open mind along with positive thinking, always keeping in mind that there will always be solutions and no solution is silly or crazy.
Most importantly, make problem solving a mindset or habit by practising it on a daily basis, taking the initiative to face challenges of all sizes affecting you, your surroundings and even your community.
As long as you keep asking the right questions, take your time to solve problems, do not procrastinate and panic, you will be capable of unleashing your greatest potential and achieving your goals in life.
This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2ecH3Zq
Image Source: Laszlo Nagy HU @ flickr.com