Student 1: The glass is half empty
Student 2: The glass is half full
Teacher: Maybe you’re just using the wrong sized glass
According to my husband, it’s an annoying trait but I happen to be someone who believes that every problem has a solution. There may not be an immediate fix, nor may the solution deliver the “forecasted extreme pay off”.
However, I do believe that problems have solutions.
When you find yourself giving up, stalling on a way forward, or just feeling defeated – here are a few actions I take that I have found to re-energize my quest for a solution set:
Ask Yourself a Hard Question
Nobody likes admitting they aren’t perfect. If I find myself with the situation where the answers seem elusive, I’ll “stop, drop, and ask” myself if I’m really trying to solve the problem or trying to change a symptom. Addressing the real problem can go a long way to fixing a lot of symptoms. Ensuring you are working the problem not the symptom is crucial.
Re-look at everything with fresh mindset
I’m a fan of murder mysteries. Columbo was my hero. When a case would stump him, he would take a step back and re-look at the entire data set but with a fresh perspective. Similarly, some problems require multiple solution sets. It could take more than one action, or changing more than one thing, for a solution to solve the problem. Meaning, you may need to take a step back and revisit the entire “spiderweb” again in order to detect the pattern and find the right “thread” to pull on.
Change the game
My dad taught me how to play checkers. We played and played until one day I started beating him. Then one day he showed up at the dining room table with a chessboard. All new rules. All new strategy. In fact, a whole new game. In our work life, sometimes the problem is that the game changes and I find myself still playing checkers when I should be playing chess. When this occurs, I have to put away one board (set of rules) and align myself to the new board (learn a new set of rules) and keep playing.
So the next time you find that your moves or tactics aren’t working to solve the problem – it may be time to ask yourself the hard questions, revisit your assumptions and change the game.