Expert SolverExpert Solver

Monday, February 13, 2012

Today’s mental workout examines the importance of problem solving to guide you down your desired path to success. Do you know what success in your life looks like? How do you know when you get there? Is it measured by financial incentives? If you haven’t attained the level of success you desire for yourself, have you deeply examined the reasons why. In order to get to our desired destination, we need to understand why we are not there already. What are the roadblocks preventing us. A majority of people will probably be eager to solve a problem and set off taking action without necessarily understanding the full implications of the challenge at hand. Of course it’s always great to take some kind of action towards solving our life’s problems, however taking time for pre-planning and planning pays dividends. More preparation will lead to better execution, then hopefully better resolution of the challenge. More preparation also provides your brain more time to survey the problem leading to more avenues of possibilities. Engage the expert problem solver inside of you.

The brain is the best problem solver known to mankind. All those hours of doing algebra and high school math must not go to waste. Consider any challenge in your life the same way as you would tackle a math problem. Survey the problem from all possible sides and angles. Break down each component of the problem into measurable chunks you can address one by one and step by step. The more you are able to break down and clearly define the problem, the more brain connections you can stimulate to bring you solutions. Challenge yourself to dig deep into the root cause of the problems. Challenge your assumptions on how you view the problem. Give it the sniff test, analyze each assumption for validity and ensure it can stand on its own merit. To further ensure that you completely understand the problem, pretend that you had to explain the challenge to a 6 year old kid. What simple language would you have to use to clearly communicate the problem? Even better find a real life kid to explain the problem to, please don't try and hire the kid if they do a really good job, most child labor laws around the world would frown upon it. The reason kids can make great problem solvers is that they are not as conditioned to fear, their brains approach challenges different from adults.

Seek to understand the core of the problem and attack it with depth, range and substance. An effective way to get your mind focused on problem solving is to actually practice some math. Try problem solving for a few minutes using the internet to locate basic algebra or math equations. You will re-ignite old brain connections which will suddenly spring into life. Your brain has powerful sensory mechanisms by association that will reach deep into your memory bank. The school of life and learning is never out unless you are a politician of course, where new information is like the enemy to you. Apply yourself to fully solve any problems you encounter in the workplace or life in general. Don’t wait for your boss, the government or anyone else to solve your problem for you. Take the initiative and do your best to come up with your own solutions. Mankind’s brain has been around longer than any other institution, solving problems to those that dare to ask, it's so easy it can do it in its sleep. Do your best and see what solutions you come up with, then seek input from others, both experts and non-experts, you would be surprised what you can learn from non-experts who are looking at it with a completely different viewpoint, applying a completely different set of rules from experts who may be conditioned to think in a certain way. Clearly defining your problems and engaging your mind to evaluate it from different perspectives increases your chances of finding solutions. Believe in yourself and your brain, the best problem solver known to mankind, yes even better than the Government. As always, make it a well-defined mental workout.