Be a problem-solver not a problem-thinker

Be a problem solverFew of us are free of problems, each day presents challenges and situations that need our attention and requires us to deal with them in a way that gets them resolved with the minimum of disturbance to our lives. We can see them with an attitude of glass half empty or glass half full. Seeing a problem with an attitude of glass half-empty you could be identified as having a problem-thinking approach that focuses on what is immediately wrong and all the difficulties in why it cannot be easily; if at all resolved.

As a problem thinker you think only of and see only what is wrong, you become enmeshed in your present situation that you have identified as a problem. When your thinking is problem focused, you review the consequences of the problem, you analyse its history, identify the people and circumstances responsible for creating it and the consequences for you in your life, work or organisation.  In problem thinking you recognise your problems with your prejudices; giving a negative label to a situation, rather than viewing it as neither good nor bad and recognise it as objectively as we can. Albert Einstein said “One should never impose views on a problem; rather one should study it and in time a solution will reveal itself”.

As a problem solver you screen out the possible opportunities that are being presented to you; that can provide solutions to your current ‘problem’ situation. Indeed the solutions may be right in front of you; and you cannot see them as you are thinking only on the problem and its consequences in your life. Problem thinking re-enforces your prejudices and your disenabling beliefs about who you are and what you can and cannot do.

With a non-judgmental attitude begin to examine your beliefs about yourself that are informing your limiting view of what you can do to resolve your problem.   Beliefs influence the perspective that you look at a problem and how you interpret it. If you believe that there is no such thing as failure only feedback; then you view a situation you have not succeeded in, not as a failure rather it is feedback as to how you can approach the situation differently; that is, in a way that has a greater potential for success. If you believe you always have got a choice you begin to look for a better choice. If you accept that you have got all the resources you need to find a solution to your problem you will seek to access your deepest wisdom to assist you in resolving your problem. You begin to apply a new and creative approach that is informed by empowering rather than limiting beliefs.

Beliefs are formed as a result of our experiences, we may see them as permanent and we begin to react in situations as if they are true. They become self-fulfilling prophesies. If you believe that you are an open friendly person you will act that way and behave in a friendly sociable manner. People will respond in a friendly manner and so confirm your belief.  Changing our belief system not only helps to solve a problem but can also change the thinking that leads to the problem in the first place. By changing your beliefs you have a different response to a problem situations, you act differently; not only in a way that solves the presenting problem but also in a way that leads to new experiences; that have benefits outside the context of the problem. Empowering beliefs are beliefs that empower you to make positive changes as they change how you feel about things and they allow you to change your behavior.

Looking at a problem with a changed belief system is core to becoming a problem solver. You can see the problem from a different perspective; you can use a different thinking than you had when the problem was first created. Referring again to Albert Einstein who said that “the significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” To change the “same level of thinking” you need to change the beliefs that informed that thinking.

Become aware that you are free to choose your beliefs; you can choose to be proactive in bringing a new belief into your life that will allow you to be a person that is a problem solver. You not only see the glass as half full, you see that it contains opportunities to solve the problem; opportunities that you are empowered to choose with confidence.

Nora Newell

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