5 Tips For Solving Problems

5 Tips For Solving Problems
June 26, 2012 Leslie Juvin-Acker

Break It Down

Dealing with problems is often stressful, confusing, and scary. It’s like we’re standing in front of a black abyss, ready to be pushing into the unknown, forced to deal with whatever we land on. What if, instead, we chose to break down problems into steps that lead us up and on?

The tip toward solving problems is just dealing with what is right in front of you in the present moment. Like the old addage goes, “One step at a time, one day at a time.” If you don’t know where to begin, ask yourself or an involved party, “What can I do right now?”

Just starting to address problems helps to set the domino effect into motion. One step is revealed as we conquer each task that stands in our way. The truth of the situation will eventually reveal itself with time, commitment, and patience.

Deal With The Facts

Sometimes, it’s easy to let our imaginations run away with us. We think, “He did that, so he must have meant this…” or “What if this happens? Then I’ll really be screwed!” When we are caught in the midst of problems, we find ourselves worrying about all of the unknown possibilities. Instead of dealing with the problem, we’re creating unwanted situations within our minds and we’re reacting to the reality around us with feelings associated with our fearful thoughts.

All we can do is look at the facts and deal with them. We can’t presume what someone else is thinking or what they might do and we certainly must not tell someone how they are feeling about a situation because we’re not mind readers. Let the facts speak for themselves and use them as a guide for how to break down problems and work through them. The facts always speak for themselves, so when you do the right thing, you’ll have the truth to back you up.

Don’t Make It Personal

This is an extremely tough tip to follow during times when we feel victimized or feel attacked. I always tell my clients to keep their thoughts about other people to themselves, rather than venting what they think the other person is thinking or feeling. Making problems personal simply calls for even more complications, because we’ve decided to go beyond dealing with what is to also having to reconcile the personal attacks that make our lives even more complicated and put our relationships in question.

If you can’t help but feel used and abused, keep conversations limited and only about the problems. Your actions send a clear signal that you want nothing more from someone other than to deal with what is.

Dealing with problems makes it so easy to think of the worst. We think, “Oh God, what’s next?!” When dealing with problems, try to focus on the outcome that you’d like to have. Endings don’t have to be specific and they don’t have to be set in stone. They can be as simple as, “We’ll get through this and everyone will be happy with the results.” Keeping an ending in mind helps us frame our mindsets and our actions with positivity. We assure ourselves, just as our wisest friend or mentor would say, that we can’t handle it and we will be better off for it.

Be Clear About Your Concerns And Intentions

Because we are so naturally inclined to think the worst of a situation and of others during times of crisis, it’s highly probably other parties involved think the same way. The best way to help get everyone on the same page is to be very clear in communicating your concerns and intentions. For example, one could say to another, “My concern is that we won’t deal with this quickly and my intention is that we all finish quickly as possible and do the job in the best way possible so that everyone is satisfied.” I can recount countless times when I’ve said something like this to another person and could see the fear melt off their face and the stress lift from their voice, because odds are they feel the exact same way. This is where people can unite on a common good.

Perhaps other people have different concerns and intentions, we can try to assure them that you will help them  or at least meet half way. Whatever you do when dealing with people and problems, make your concerns and intentions clear. You never know when and where a solution might strike!