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POPin Blog

Solution-Based Thinking For The Win

So, let’s talk about something very important. Everyone handles a problem in different way: some might focus on the problem itself while others will try to focus on a solution. One of these will keep you trapped in a deadly cycle, while the other will help you move forward. Problem-based thinking will get you absolutely nowhere. Truly, it doesn’t help you solve anything. Ultimately, it has a negative effect on your motivation and productivity. By simply changing your mindset to a more solution oriented one, you are setting yourself up to solve the problem. Focus your attention on collaboration, engagement, and communication in order to find solutions instead of whine about a problem occurring. Think about the last time you had to study for a seemingly impossible test or write an important report for your job. You might have sat that thinking about how hard your life was and how much you wished you didn’t have to do it. But once you changed your attitude and starting thinking about what it would take to finish, you did just that. You started focusing on a solution! And wow, what wonders it did for you, right? We recently came across a great article written by Steve Mueller that explained 5 reasons to avoid problem-based thinking. We wanted to share those reasons with you this week!
  1. “Self-knowledge” The first step to changing your mindset is to acknowledge/admit the old way of thinking– ie) your problem-centered viewpoints. This is pretty crucial because it will help you figure out how to move forward. Think about the types of questions you ask when trying to get through a tough problem. Key indicators or a problem-oriented mindset are questions like: Why do I have to finish this project? Or What did I do to deserve this? If you ask questions that focus on negative thinking or the actual problem at hand, it’s time to check yourself. Time to shift your thought process to a more ‘I can solve this and here’s how’ attitude.
  2. “Fight problem-oriented questions” After you’ve acknowledged your old way of thinking, you have to start actively removing those types of questions from your process. Anything that does not serve an important purpose in the solution of your problem is not the right question to be asked. Move away from those ‘why’ questions and into the ‘how can this be changed’ questions.
  3. “Clarity” When you stop worrying about every little negative detail, you can soar through any issue. Give yourself some clarity and allow your thinking to expand. Sometimes, we get stuck in a stagnant cycle, unable to complete a task because we keep focusing on how much we don’t want to finish it. After realizing that it has to get done anyway, you can figure out how to get it done. Boom… that’s some solution-based clarity.
  4. “Why is it important to solve this task?” You know more than anyone why your work matters. It can be difficult to focus on finding solutions when you’re stuck in a rut, but reminding yourself that it’s important to do will go a long way. When you allow yourself to focus on the root of something– the why this is important– you can actually see how to work through it. Collaborate with others to help you with this task. Collaboration is key to solving problems from a solution-oriented mindset.
  5. “Think about the solution” Ask yourself solution-centered questions to help ease you into your problem. Consider these:
    • What needs to get done before this problem is solved?
    • Who can I collaborate with in order to get things done?
    • What is the first step in finding a solution? What’s the second and third?
    • What will my team need to prepare to get this done?
It can be hard re-learning how to approach certain situations, especially problems at hand. Obviously, you have to figure out a way out of your predicaments, but the best way to do so is always with a positive, solution-based attitude. What do you think, readers? Can you handle the mental shift?