For many people every minute and every hour throws up a new problem that at first always seems insurmountable. Be it at work or home, we are ruled by problems, and searching for a solution to these obstacles is what takes up most of our time and energy. Be it a leaking tap or an annual report, we are always tested on how quick and how well the solutions that we come up with are. One must remember that solutions do not just come at random, the ‘eureka’ moment will only come if you work on the problem with all your brain cell firing. Some people, however, are more apt at problem solving than others. You may feel that these lucky people are blessed with some out-of-the-world skills that help them churn out solutions as fast as you churn out problems. You can not be more far from truth. The only difference between those who are good problem solvers and those who are not, is that those who can solve problem effectively do so because they employ certain methods and techniques. Getting to the other side of a high fence becomes much easier when you use a ladder rather than using your arms and legs to climb over. Effective problems solvers use certain techniques (for instance, ladder in the above given example) to get over the problem. Using the techniques in problem solving is the quickest way in which you can find out-of-the-box solutions. Given below in the article are various techniques in which you can be an excellent problem solver.
Problem Solving Skills & Techniques
The unconscious mind is the best problem solver. There are several techniques in which one can use the unconscious mind to solve the problem.
- Think deeply of the problem before going to sleep. The brain works even during sleep so when you imprint the problem before sleeping, the brain will work on it, while you are snoozing off. Many notable scientists use this technique to delve deeper into the problem.
- You can also plug the problem at the back of your mind. So, even when you are doing other things, the unconscious mind will be busy churning out solutions for the problem.
- Contrary to popular perception, drowsiness can give you many creative solutions. Just think of the problem when drowsy and chances are that you may be struck with that ‘eureka’ moment.
To tap the resources of the mind, the best way is associative thinking. In this type of thinking, the problem is solved by associating it with other processes through similarity, difference or contiguity. So, one can bring into focus various other options that one would not have got if only those ideas that were directly linked to the problem were taken into consideration. Thus, associative thinking is very effective in providing a better solution by highlighting other relationships of the problem.
In problem solving, you can use analogy to get a diverse range of solutions simply through comparisons. First, list out the different facets of the problem that you want to solve. Now, compare them with some other problems. The problems that you are comparing with may or may not have facets similar to the one you want to solve.
This is the most common problem solving technique. It is free and non-threatening where anyone can put up any idea. Mostly it involves a group of diverse people. However, brainstorming can also be done alone. The problem is given to a group and everyone is encouraged to throw up ideas, no matter how ridiculous they are. Then all the ideas are discussed and dissected and analyzed to come up with a solution. When brainstorming alone, one can come up with a number of ideas that is written down on a piece of paper. Then the person tries to come up with a solution from all these ideas.
This is a very conventional and logical method, as it follows a step by step approach. First, every cause of the problem is examined and a solution is given for each depending upon one’s knowledge and experience. Now compare all the possible solutions with how that particular problem was solved by others.