Much ink has been spilled over the years, regarding problem solving. The majority of which focuses on strategies and tactics. Far less attention has been given to the importance of your mindset.
Mindset is the essential foundation of problem solving. It’s the very base that will support (or collapse) any strategies or tactics you use. In short, if your mindset isn’t right, strategies and tactics are pointless.
To help redress the mindset imbalance, I’d like to share a few ideas to help you overcome your next challenge / problem.
Part of building the most effective problem solving mindset, is to presuppose there’s an answer. Not only an answer, but a great answer.
However, people will often only try a problem solving strategy, after failing to swiftly find the answer the need. This can lead to doubt; especially if it’s a major problem. And doubt tends to lead to circular, negative thinking. It places you in a toxic mindset, making it extremely hard to find the solution.
Here’s an example of circular, negative thinking. Imagine John has just learned he’s about to be laid-off from his job. His thinking may look something like this.
- If I don’t quickly find a new job, I’ll end up broke.
- What will happen if we can’t pay the rent?
- Well, I have some savings. That will last for a while. Maybe long enough for me to find a job.
- But what if I don’t find a new job quickly enough? (Circling back to the first point).
No matter how good John’s problem solving strategy is, that mindset will massively reduce the likelihood of a great outcome. It will simply heap increasing levels of unhelpful stress on him. This, in turn, makes it even harder for him to focus optimally on the answer he needs.
Clearly, a more effective and efficient mindset is required.
Improving your mindset
If you’ve ever tried telling yourself to “think positive”, you’ll know it seldom, if ever, works. Especially when you’re mindset is already in a negative / stressful state. The mind is complex. It knows when you’re bullshitting yourself.
Well, it would, wouldn’t it!?!
The answer? Drop the bullshit and let the facts of your situation inspire your thinking and improve your mindset.
To demonstrate this, I’ll use John’s example again. Here are just a few real-world facts he could focus on, which would massively improve his mindset.
- Every minute of every day, people in his situation are being hired.
- There are countless examples of people like John, whose lives were enriched beyond recognition, after being forced to find a new job or career.
- We live in the era of free, global communications. This means it’s the best time ever to connect with people, who can hire him or help him get hired.
- People who’ve overcome the same problem as John, have shared their experiences all over the internet. So, he’ll be able to learn from them.
- And John will never be more than one call, one email or one meeting away from the person or company who will hire him.
You get the idea.
That type of real-world thinking is easier for your mind to accept, because it’s based on facts. And when your mind accepts a solution-focused reality, your mindset is in a highly effective state.
Now, you have the mindset foundation in place, to find and implement a problem solving strategy, successfully.