How To Improve Your Problem Solving Skills

5min read.
Do you solve problems blindly? You're not the only one, plus you don't have to any longer. Learn to build your dreams by improving behavioral patterns with problem solving techniques.
Have you heard psychologists say, ‘If you want to change for the better you’ve got to change your patterns.’

It’s natural for humans to build patterns— also known as conditioning. It resolves the issue of having to relearn subjects from scratch each, and every time.

When you’re learning a subject for the first time your mind is fresh.

As the subject is practiced regularly, the acquired knowledge gets stored in your brain establishing a pattern.

This is the primary reason why sometimes you're able to perform tasks unconsciously.

'Once you learn to ride a bicycle, you never forget' —a great pattern to have.

Remember your first days of learning to drive.
You were present — in the moment, because the experience was new. Both hands were tightly gripped on the wheel, with attention intensely fixated on the feeling. Your gaze was shifting between the rear view mirror, side view mirror, dashboard, and the road ahead.

Most likely your awareness was at peak performance.

Also, do you remember not being able to multitask while learning? Until you developed a pattern in your brain, which enabled you to drive effortlessly.

Now, you can maneuver not only the wheel, but also change radio frequencies, have conversations, have passengers, talk on the phone, drink coffee, and for some adventurous ones —paint your nails, and apply makeup.

Plenty of times I’ve been told, ’I got home last night on autopilot’. My answer —it was their fully developed pattern—the skill of driving.

Once a pattern is developed, the task becomes second nature. The disadvantage is that these very same patterns stop you from coming up with better solutions. The good news is, improving behavioral patterns is possible with the use of problem solving techniques.
Build Your Dream
with creative thinking
Mastering a subject doesn’t place you ahead of the game, until you’ve recognized that a real master doesn’t consider themselves a master, but a lifetime student. Studying fiercely and asking questions to continuously improve a skill is Creative Thinking. This is how you build your dream.
"I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing."

Build Your Dream
with further study and introspection
Simon O. Sinek, British/American author says that leaders whom are furthering their study in leadership are indeed greater leaders than those whom comfortably relax into behaving like experts.

Why? These so called experts tend to make decisions without any further study and introspection.

They blindly solve problems without question. They're set on their pattern, and modalities. Rigid about improved methods, or new ways of doing things.

Build Your Dream
with Creative Thinking
  • Necessary to improve.
  • Capable of helping you approach problems as suggestions, not final statements.
  • Necessary to approach problems, with a fresh mind.
  • Lifetime learning.

You’ve probably worked for a company, or know someone whom has worked for a company which functions on set patterns—fixed on their ways. Nothing wrong with that, this is called tradition.

However, micromanaging employees, hinders autonomy. Employees behave withdrawn, if they feel that they're under a microscope. Their minds are deprived from stimulation— far from reaching creative, and thriving solutions.

These employees in the long run begin, to feel lifeless, and eager to go home even before the time clock ticks indicating the end of their shift.

This is one of the myriad of examples of how patterns can hinder your capacity to solve with efficacy.

There are various ways in which companies, individuals, educational institutions, or even families get stuck in old patterns.

Remember, once a pattern is developed, the task becomes second nature. The disadvantage is that these very same patterns become stale preventing you from coming up with better solutions. The good news is, improving behavioral patterns is possible with the use of problem solving techniques and practice.
Be aware........

  1. Always being told, what to do, or not to do is not conducive to creativity. It prevents you from living your dream.
  2. Patterns/traditions are not necessarily conducive to creative solutions. It prevents you from imaging improved outcomes and ever evolving. Unless they invite and encourage imagination from time to time.
Build Your Dream
with problem solving techniques
Build your dream with problem solving strategies. Assessing your situation is a great start—Are you functioning on a pattern which is beneficial, (i.e. riding a bicycle)? Or a pattern which makes you feel encumbered?

Problem Solving Techniques:
The ‘Five Whys’, is a technique from the Toyota productions system.

  1. Who?
  2. What?
  3. Where?
  4. When?
  5. Why?
Use problem solving techniques such as the one mentioned above to challenge assumptions. To get to the root cause of what caused a problem. Then fix the problem.

Do you recall having to answer the following in school;

Who, What, Where, When, and How?

The 'Five Whys' is similar, except you omit the 'How'.

Omitting the 'How' alleviates any feelings of obsession over how things will work out.

This is the reason why problem solving techniques such as the 'Five Whys' is a favorable approach.

Give it a try. Ask these questions. Get remarkable insight.
The Takeaway
Of course you don't want to relearn content over and over again, so developing a pattern is beneficial. Patterns, are like highwaysonce established, they're easy to access. Be flexible, as these very same patterns can leave you feeling encumbered, and limited. Improving behavioral patterns is like improving pavement on roads, necessary when they're overused.

Now, go ahead and build your dream by practicing creative thinking, doing further study, introspection, and using problem solving techniques such as answering the 'Five Whys' to come up with better solutions.

Finally, the 'creative mind' doesn't see problems as final statements, but suggestions. You're very capable of achieving this kind of mindset. The mindset necessary to build your dream.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”.

- Lao Tzu, Ancient Chinese Philosopher and writer
P.S. Never underestimate the power of your influence. Share this insight with your friends. Help someone else build their dream with a dose of creative thinking skills and practices. Leave a comment, let me know how you're dreams are becoming realized.

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