“Increase Your Problem-Solving Literacy”
In today’s world, all of us are captured in problems but in the inside of them. Do we really know what our real problems are? Let me tell you, we don’t! Consequently, we waste precious resources like time, money, energy in an attempt to solve problems that are false.
To solve your toughest problems, change the problems you solve. (Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg)
We are bad at identifying problems and lack a skill known as problem re-framing.
How to Identify When to Re-frame Your Problem?
The best signal to problem re-framing is when the problem becomes chronic. This can be identified by repeated mistakes, frequent arguments & fights, undissolved issues. In situations like these, we stick to the same solution without any sustainable change. When facing new problems, always have in mind that risks will be high, the more effort you’ll have to put into identifying the correct issue before putting your energies into finding a solution.
Following are the 3 strategies to become a better problem reframe
1. Find Boundary Spanner: Most of the time we are unaware of how rigid our thinking is. Gathering other people’s perspectives is the best way to find the blind spots in problems. It’s beneficial to talk with people who have enough knowledge regarding your issue in order to understand and bring diverse backgrounds & perspectives.
2. Learn From Bright Spots: Positive exception finding is another tool for problem re-framing, it means to observe and learn from the positivity and apply that knowledge for reframing the problem, which will lead to the accessible solution.
3. Expand The Frame: Great problem reframes expand their frame of the problem along with finding boundary spanners and learning from bright spots. Asking yes or no questions reduces the chance to look for solutions that might match your needs better. Changing the types of questions, you ask is a good way to expand your frame. Ask more open-ended questions rather than closed ones.
Replacing words like ‘should’ ‘can’ ‘do’ ‘is’ to ‘what’ ‘who’ ‘how’.
Always keep in mind that problem re-framing & problem solving are the skills that can be learned. If you don’t know where to start from, working on tiny and everyday problems can be a good start. Developing your abilities to handle big problems by start practicing on small ones will be of good help. Every problem that life gives us comes with a free & hidden lesson as well as an opportunity for strengthening our problem-solving muscles.
Written by Manhal Khan (Clinical Psychologist)
Thoughts: Dr. Sadaqat Ali