16 Practical Tips for Solving Your Problems More Easily ~ Life Is Great

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

16 Practical Tips for Solving Your Problems More Easily

I really don't think there is one way to do it. And the ways you
can use to solve a problem depends on the problem.

But I have found a few tips that have helped me solve problems
more easily. I seldom use all of the tips for solving one problem and
they aren't arranged in any special order.

However, I find doing some of these things early on can really
help you solve the problem faster and with less struggle and pain.

1. Accept the problem.

This is the one I try to do first when I run into a problem and
I use it almost every time. When you accept that the problem already
exists and stop resisting then you also stop putting more energy into
the problem and "feeding it". Now it just exists (well, more or less,
you might still feel a bit down about it). And you can use the energy
you previously fed the problem with - the energy that probably made
the problem look bigger than it was - to find creative solutions to
the challenge.

2. Ask yourself: what's the worst that can

This is another one to do early on. You can easily to use your
mind to blow problems all out of proportion. By asking this question
you can restore the problem to it's original size. And realize that
the worst case scenario - if you actually define it - is perhaps not
so pleasant but something you can handle and solve.

3. Gather some good knowledge.

Information about your problem can often decrease that uncertain
anxiety and fear we face when we are challenged with something.
Knowledge wisps away the clouds of fear around a problem. And we often
find that the problem might not be as bad as we thought.

4. Try to figure out possible problem along the

This is something you can do before the problem even arises. Be
prepared. When you research - as described in point # 3 - also try to
find out what others in the same situation ran into, what kind of
challenges they faced. Ask people what they did. If you don't have
anyone to ask then books, forums and blogs are good resources for
gathering the personal experience of people. Also, be on the lookout
for local groups and organizations. Google it and see what you find.
If you keep your eyes and ears open you are sure to find something

5. Ask for help.

You can ask people for advice on what to do and what they did in
similar situations like yours. But you can also ask for more practical
help. You don´t have to solve every problem on your own and sometimes
it feels better to have someone by your side, even if it is just for
emotional support.

6. Let go of the need to be right.

Open your mind to a solution that may work and try it out
instead of just making snap judgements based on little information and
experience. The need to be right can make you disregard solutions that
are just what you need for far too long.

7. Come up with more than one solution.

You don't know what will actually work before you try it. What
may seem like a good solution in theory doesn't always work in
reality. So brain-storm and come up with at least a few solutions. If
the first didn't work, try the next one.

8. Redefine failure.

This is important both to handle fear of failure for the whole
problem and to get you start trying different solutions without too
much hesitation. The definition of failure we are brought up with in
society might not be the best and most useful to have. If you look at
the most successful people you quickly notice that they have a
different response to failure than the more common one. They don't
take failure or rejection that seriously. They know it's not the end
of the world if they fail. Instead they look at each failure and see
the good part about: what they can learn from it and improve next
time. They have an abundance-mentality. They know that if their first
business-venture fails it feels like crap for a while but it's ok in
the long run. They learn from it and then they try again. Redefine
failure as feedback and as a natural part of a successful life.

9. Break down the problem into smaller pieces.

Completing a task or solving a problem can seem overwhelming and
impossible if you take it all in at once. To decrease anxiety and
think more clearly try to break the problem down. Try to identify the
different things and people it consists of. Then figure out one
practical solution you can take for each of those pieces. Try those
solutions. They may not solve the whole problem immediately. But they
might solve a few pieces of it. And then you can keep trying other
solutions for the rest of the pieces until there are none left.

10. Use the 80/20 rule.

Use 80 percent of your time to find solutions and only 20
percent to complain, worry and whine. It might not always be easy but
focusing your energy, time and thoughts in this way is much more
beneficial to you and others than doing the opposite.

11. Use Parkinson's Law.

This law says that a task will expand in time and seeming
complexity depending on the time you set aside for it. For instance,
if you say to yourself that you'll come up with a solution within a
week then the problem will seem to grow more difficult and you'll
spend more and more time trying to come up with a solution. Combine
this law with the 80/20 rule to find solutions quickly. Focus your
time on finding solutions. Then just give yourself an hour (instead of
the whole day) or the day (instead of the whole week) to solve the
problem. This will force your mind to focus on solutions and action.

12. Find the lesson or opportunity within the problem.

There is almost always a good side of a problem. Perhaps it
alerts us to a great way to improve our business. Or teaches us how
our lives perhaps aren't as bad as we thought. Finding this more
positive part of the problem reduces its negative emotional impact and
you may even start to see the situation as a great opportunity for
you. When you are faced with a problem ask yourself: How can I use
this? What is the good thing about this? What can I learn from this?
What hidden opportunity can I find within this problem?

13. Actually talk about the problem and communicate

Many problems arise because someone misinterpreted what someone
else said. One way to make sure that you and everyone else have the
same interpretation of for instance a project is to have people repeat
back their view of the project and their part in it. See if your and
their view matches. If a conflict arises then maybe you need to just
talk it out, let go of a bit of steam, emotion and tension instead of
everyone bottling it up. After that the discussion may be less
emotionally charged. And it becomes easier to communicate clearly and
reach a good solution for everyone involved.

14. Create fewer problems.

A lot of our problems are created by ourselves. You save
yourself a lot of trouble by being proactive, thinking before you
speak and trying to avoid creating or complicating problems more than
necessary. One way to decrease problems is to follow - as much as you
can - Dale Carnegie's wise words: "Never critize, complain or
condemn". Many problems are somehow connected to relationships with
other people so a good way to create less problems is to improve your
social skills.

15. Use the power of words to your advantage.

Our minds respond more than one may think to what words that are
used to describe something. A problem is a negatively charged word. To
make it easier to handle the problem use the more neutral or positive
word challenge instead. This may sound like some empty and in reality
just useless advice. But, at least to me, I have found that doing this
small change has some impact on how negatively/positively I view a

16. Keep your motivation up.

It's easy to be discouraged, especially if you fear failure and
your first and second solution to a problem didn't work. You might
feel like just giving up. Then it's time to give yourself a boost of
motivation. Changing your mental state to a brighter, more positive
and more motivated one can make all the difference in the world. It
will keep you going. Even though you might just a few minutes earlier
felt like all hope was gone.

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