Stop & Think, If You’re Stuck In A Problem
“Remember that failure is an event, not a person.”
Zig Ziglar’s advice is a terrific example of solving problems — endowing the spirit of offering services to create opportunities for business and more. When I was young, I used to be extremely active in the art of fixing computer hardware. Whenever an issue would arise, whether it be the neighbor’s computer or a friend had deleted the contents of the C: drive. I would fix it all. Even though sometimes, I would find myself in a pickle. Not knowing the solution, I wouldn’t panic about the problem. Instead, I would search for a forum or a troubleshooting manual for expert advice.
I was swift and determined in the old days to solve tough problems. Even though for a kid, it was admirable to see that he would fix problems wherever they may be. My services were free of charge, as I enjoyed helping others. Most times, I would be rewarded either with a piece of cake or candy. Sometimes, they would pay me money as well. But I would usually help them solve it, because in the process of fixing those problems did I feel truly free. I found purpose, in fixing problems. It felt like my calling, or so I used to think.
Like Ziglar, in the beginning — I would fall short on the promise of fixing a problem. There were many times I had failed because I didn’t know what I was doing. Therein lied the problem — the error in my ways in considering one. My biggest problem perhaps back then was my hyperactivity. Due to it, I was unable to focus on fixing one problem at a time while my mind was fixed on two.
The hardest problem that does arise, during problem-solving is the inability to solve a given problem. The mind wanders away into the distance slowly drifting apart as you start to lose your grip on reality. The unintended outcomes are a major downer, much so that it might cause a lot of self-loathing.
Why does our mind, tend to believe that all hope is lost when we lose a battle?
Because we don’t have moral support and faith in ourselves. When we have a person rooting for us, even if that person is ourselves — it becomes harder for the losses to get the best of us. That is why belief in one’s abilities and the choices one makes are essential in cultivating success.
The crucial factor, that we have to persist is time.
We are not doing anything wrong — it’s just the right time for the outcome to happen hasn’t arrived yet. Till then there will be many failures, many losses, and many struggles. These experiences will teach us the fundamental skills that will push us to become strong and successful. They will defeat our misery, and hopeless tendencies helping us to become resilient in the face of insurmountable odds.
Whenever I come across, a difficult challenge that takes me multiple tries to come up with a solution. I remember the feelings of defeat, the lessons it had taught me. Using them to build my arsenal — I look towards that difficult problem with a smile. This joy entices the people, for whom I’m solving the problem. It gets them moving as well, we can tackle the problem together. This creates harmony and allows a coherent approach to solving complex problems that need more than just intellect.
What can you do, if you face your biggest problem?
John Dewey stated, “A problem well stated is a problem half solved.” The best way of going around a problem is to define what, when, and where the problem lies. If you can search for your problem, and read about it in detail. There will always be an opportunity to adopt a pattern-seeking approach. This will help you jot down the essential things, that make your problem tick.
It helps you prepare yourself, to think about the problem in multiple ways and perspectives. We have to think differently when solving problems. Think intuitively and exceptionally in terms to define the problem space multiple times. Gather feedback from the people around you about the problem. Brainstorm all the different ways you can see the problem, and then come with a hypothesis that describes the problem in the simplest of terms.
“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
— Albert Einstein
Solving problems is not hard, it is the process to define the problem that becomes harder when you do not focus on the reasons that created them. It is the process of defining the problem in simple terms that matters. As Abraham Maslow famously said,
“If your only tool is a hammer then every problem looks like a nail.”
— Abraham Maslow
When I was a kid, I used to repeat the same thing twice — never knowing that the old method will not work for the new problem space. I kept on failing and failing — thinking I might be doing something wrong. When in all actuality it was the mindset I had that came in between me and the problems I was trying to solve.
It is when you truly stop and think for a moment — will you realize the error in your ways. And the best thing that process initiates is the mindset of problem-solving in all its essence and glory.