Every Problem Has A Solution
Author: Catherine Pulsifer
Problems, although very real, do have solutions if the mind is properly focused. What does this mean?
Here is an example of what is meant by having a properly focused mind.
Nine people were actively discussing a business problem. The challenge they were facing was not their fault; it was the result of circumstances beyond their control that resulted in this problem. But, the problem still needed to be resolved.
What To DoThe problem was identified, and they were discussing what they were going to do about it.
"What will we do," asked one of them. One person immediately said, "There is nothing we can do." That response was unacceptable to the rest of the group and acted as a spark of action.
"Yes, there is something we can do!" replied two of them in unison. It was at that point that their minds started to work coming up with solutions. And, a solution they did find.
The Dissection Of A ProblemThe above short example incorporates many parts. It is these parts that need further exploring and explanation. On the one hand, it sounds very easy to move towards a solution but this is not necessarily the case.
First ChallengeThe first part of the issue is to identify the exact nature of the problem and hence lies the first challenge. Here is an example that may help clarify how challenging it is to first properly identify a problem. Let's say that you are working in an environment that shows the productivity outcome at the end of each day. Obviously, this means that there must first be a target that has to be met.
In our example, let's assume that for the past month that this daily target is only accomplished about fifty percent of the time. This means that half the time productivity is below the designated target. The question then becomes, what is the problem?
The first overall problem is that productivity is only one-half of what it should be. That was easy to determine wasn't it. The next question then becomes, why is the productivity only half of what it should be?
Second ChallengeThe second challenge then is to determine why productivity has fallen by fifty percent? Here are some common questions that will probably be asked.
For example:- Is the productivity target consistently below what it should be every day of the week? The answer is no because if it was consistently below then the target wouldn't have been reached one hundred percent of the time. We know this is not the case.
Is missing the target due to a break down in the machinery? This can easily be checked by maintenance records. If this is the issue, then this problem can be rectified (which is the solution) by replacing the faulty equipment.
If there is no equipment problem, what else could be the cause missing productivity targets on a consistent basis?
Here is the point: if we know what the problem is then it is easier to fix or find a solution to the problem. However, one of the issues often is that people become fixated on the problem rather than trying to identify its' cause, and then to move towards a resolution.
Let's go back to our example for a minute. If the problem of missing productivity targets remained a problem without any effort to address its' causal factor or factors, then we would have to say that everyone was fixated on the problem rather than being solution focused. One cannot resolve an issue if one is stuck on the issue or the problem. To become mired in a problem where there is no possibility of a resolution means that there is no will to move beyond the problem.
Problem Fixation Does Not Resolve AnythingIn order to move beyond any issue in life requires a person to see a solution. However, you cannot see a solution or possible solution if there is no will to find one. Some people, unfortunately, stay stuck in life's issues even though there are solutions.
Let's use being a commercial plumber as an example. In this case, the plumber loses their well paying trades job. It's obvious what the problem is; they have no job and therefore no money to pay their bills. Despite their desire to work in their trade, there aren't any jobs available now and none forecast for the immediate future. What do you do?
On the one hand, if you are the plumber in this example, you could keep checking with your local union to see if there are any jobs. The fact that you already know there isn't any and not going to be any in the foreseeable future does not seem to impact your thinking; you keep checking. However, the issue is clear. No job, no money. And with no money, bills remain unpaid. The longer this situation continues, the more you risk creditors hounding you or even losing your car or home.
Yet, despite the reality of no work being available for this plumber, they keep hoping for a new plumbing contract. This view is definitely what is meant by being fixated on the problem and not a solution.
You May Not Like ItIn our above example about the plumber, there are several solutions. One of the solutions is to take a job anywhere doing anything. This could be a customer service position at a local fast food outlet, or it could be taking a position at a plumbing supply outlet as a service consultant, or it could be a part-time position as a night security staff member. There are solutions but not always the solution you may desire the most.
Sometimes, it means that a solution is only a stepping stone to an even better solution but the key here is that action is being taken. Action means motion not lack of motion; action means taking a positive step not sitting on your hands waiting; action means you take charge and move forward rather than expecting circumstances will change without any effort on your part.
A Great Old Saying To RememberThere is an old saying that contains wisdom that we all need to keep in our mind when we are faced with issues: "Instead of giving myself reasons why I can't, I give myself reasons why I can."
We All Face ChallengesWe are all faced with challenges at some point in our life, challenges that we did not create. Challenges that happened beyond our control. The difference is how we respond to these challenges.
You can adopt the attitude there is nothing you can do. You can think it is beyond your control, you didn't create the problem. When you accept this type of thinking the problem or issue will never be solved or fixed. Your mind shuts down when you think there is nothing that can be done.
But, if you see the problem as an opportunity, or if you see the challenge as your call to action, it is amazing how your mind will work to create solutions because your attitude changes to one that will find creative ways to solve the issue at hand.
Keep Your Mind OpenThe next time you are faced with an issue don't shut down your mind by thinking there is nothing I can do. Remember the wisdom said by Norman Vincent Peale: "Become a 'possibilitarian'. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see the possibilities- Always see them, for they are always there."
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:"A problem is only a problem if you refuse to look for a solution. If you don't take action to fix it then it will remain a problem." Catherine Pulsifer
"Whatever the problem we have in our life, someone has faced it and overcome it. " David DeNotaris
"Problems are why you have running water and insulation in your home. Plumbing was created because of a problem. Toothbrushes were invented because of a problem." Bill Burnett, Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life
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