Problem solving

People who have high levels of resilience are often described as being able to see problems as challenges. This involves adopting a particular mindset when faced with set backs, viewing them as temporary obstacles which can be overcome. In exploring a variety of solutions to a problem, you can learn to be more creative and resourceful.  

  • Clarify the problem as vague problems are harder to solve than those that are specific.
  • Reason by analogy to use what you have learnt about similar problems.
  • However, do not become too fixed on past experience as this can prevent problem solving. Take a break if you find yourself doing this.
  • Discuss the problem with others - a problem shared is a problem halved.
  • Brainstorm - by bringing diverse experience into play, you can often find better solutions as the ideas are richer. Groups of five to seven are usually more effective than larger groups. Encourage everyone to contribute but also not to criticise - creativity gets stifled when ideas are crushed.
  • Set aside irrelevant information - When problem solving, it is important to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant data that can lead to faulty solutions. It is easier to be misled by irrelevant information when the problem is of a complex nature.