Don’t Fixate on Problems, Look for Solutions!

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We spend a huge part of our lives wondering about one problem or the other. We seem to be trapped in this complex, infinite loop which we just are not able to get out of. One after the other, we are constantly making a fuss over our problems. ‘Why is this happening to me? Why can I not find my stuff when I need it? Why is my friend not replying to my messages? Why is he promoted ahead of me when I work as hard as him, if not more? Why do I have to eat the same damn thing every single day?’ and the list goes on. We get so fixated in finding and worrying about problems that we pay fee little attention to actually coming up with a solution to all of them. As confusing as it may sound, this in itself is the biggest problem. (And here I end up contradicting myself by introducing some more problems to you! But well I am just as human as you are! So don’t blame me for not doing what I preach. On a more serious note, I will get to the part where I talk about focusing on solutions soon enough).


Problem recognition is just the first step, what is more important is the problem solving attitude that we develop and the problem solving approach that we need to have in order to tackle a truckload of problems. I am not trying to undermine the important of recognizing problems. It is, in fact, a very crucial step in the problem solving mechanism because it is silly to think that you can solve a problem without recognizing the problem first! But once you recognize it, you have to immediately move to the next step. Don’t keep wondering about the problem, don’t keep feeling sorry for yourself and (for God’s sake) don’t keep over analyzing stuff, thereby wasting your time on unnecessary things. Try and see the root cause of the problem and immediately start thinking about all the viable options you have for tackling that problem. Once you reach a stage where you have decided on your plan of action to tackle it, just start implementing your plan and do it so well that the results reflect your effort.

Apart from problem recognition and problem solving, another important aspect that should be kept in mind at all times is the problem selection phase. Not every problem is worth your attention. Sometimes, well actually a lot of times, our problems are too trivial and too insignificant to make a big fuss out of them. These problems, most likely, will not affect your life in any way. So concentrating more on them than required will also lead to you wasting your time and energy on something that doesn’t really deserve it. So the best thing to do in such a case is to let go of the problems which are not likely to affect you in any manner, and instead focus on those which are more likely to actually affect you.

There is one more case that comes to my mind when I talk of problems. There are some problems which are out of your control; they are just not yours to handle. So stop trying to! In such cases, no matter how much you want to do something, no matter how hard you try to rectify things, you are helpless and most likely there is nothing you can do nothing about it. The best thing to do here would be to let go. It may be very difficult to do so, especially if it is something that affects you deeply, but believe me when I say this – the sooner you let go of the, the sooner you are likely to heal and get back to your life. For example some relationships are just not meant to be even though they may mean just so, so much to you. You can spend all your energy and time trying to salvage it but the sooner you recognize that it is not going to happen, the better it will be for everyone involved. Right? Helplessness is one of the worst mental states to be in for anybody and therefore so it is imperative to know when you need to let go of things that you can’t handle, while taking excellent care of the things you can.

Problem solving in itself requires a considerable amount of thinking and planning. So why waste time thinking about other stuff, right? Any typical problem (apart from few exceptions) will generally involve these five steps as a part of the problem solving approach: problem recognition (where we identify the problem or problems), information gathering (where we collect all the useful information related to the problem at hand which can help us come up with a solution), generating alternatives (getting all your cards out on the table, keeping all your options option), evaluating and implementing alternatives (selecting and executing the best and the most feasible out of the options that we have), reviewing results (finally keeping a track of how your solution is reflected in the results, and if it requires any further modifications).

Although these steps seem too technical to apply in day to day life, you would be surprised to see how you can use them to solve almost any problem that comes your way in a structured and efficient manner. So keep all these basic steps in mind, follow this methodical approach and you should be able to handle all yours problem not only in a timely manner but also in the best possible way. That is the beauty of an alternatives – based model like this.
So, remember this little article the next time you face any problem! You can do it!