Part 7: Problem Solving

While we can always make our own choices, determine our own behavior, and present the attitude we want, we can also solve some of the external problems we face.

Solving problems feeds that sense of control which in turn builds our motivation to face future obstacles and setbacks.

Dr. Siebert outlined three methods of problem solving:

  1. Analytical Problem Solving
    • Get an accurate understanding of the problem
    • Ask yourself, “What do I want?”
    • Come up with two or more potential solutions to the problem
    • Take action
    • Take stock of the effects of your action
    • Learn from the feedback you get
    • Modify your efforts
  2. Practical Problem Solving

This method of problem solving is pretty straight forward.  Often times when facing obstacles or setbacks we can become emotionally challenged by what we are experiencing, making us feel defeated even before we begin addressing the issue.

So much so that it can greatly impact our response time and as mentioned before, “Wasting our own time is foolish, and wasting another’s is theft.”

Practical problem solvers immediately get to work on positive solutions, choosing action over words and feelings.  This method is also established through planning ahead before obstacles arise or setbacks occur.

  1. Creative Problem Solving

Sometimes the events and circumstances that we face require an unusual or even uncomfortable approach.  This method is known as creative problem solving.  We’ve all heard the old adage, “Think outside the box.”

That’s what this method is all about, it doesn’t come easy for everyone though.  Some of us struggle with new ways of thinking or exploring concepts and themes that are outside our comfort zone.

One of the techniques for building leadership comes into play here.  We need motivation to embrace that which is different and that motivation requires fearlessness.  Courage can take you far in thinking outside the box and being creative.

Curiosity is a fundamental and foundational aspect of childhood and it may very well be even more important and more valuable to us as adults.

Curiosity demands that we listen, observe, explore, experiment, ask many questions, challenge the status quo, imagine, and be open-minded enough to learn and grow beyond what is familiar, or sometimes perceived to be, safe and predictable.

When our courage grants us the willingness to go beyond our comfort zone and think creatively, we can feel more motivated to face the challenges that have us feeling stuck in life, unfulfilled, or living in a cycle as though it’s on repeat.

Creativity grants us the motivation to stop waiting for things to change and to act to change them ourselves.

Writer Dustin Grinnell recounted in Finding Words to Live By in My Dad’s Letters, a video opus to his father’s advice, that he had “… Stopped waiting for things to happen, and happened to things.”

Poet William Henley penned in his famous piece, Invictus, “It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”