Thursday, August 7, 2014

Problem Solution

Once when I was home from engineering college for the holidays, I happened to go to my father's office. There, in his room, on the soft board, I saw a typed out message on a plain A4 sheet of paper. And it read - 

" Are you here with a solution?
Are you part of the problem?"

I remember asking my Dad why he had put it up and he said "Oh I read this somewhere and liked it, and it has helped to get my team thinking about solutions rather than problems."

Later on, he explained that he realized, people had a habit of coming in to his cabin with all type of problems and asking for solutions when they themselves were very capable of finding the solutions. By encouraging his team to come to him with solutions, he had been able to nurture a team of thinkers rather than followers, and it had helped him and them excel and grow, faster than their peers in other departments. It became the department that got things done and accepted the most impossible of tasks and accomplished them well.

Well  somehow that stuck with me. I started to look at everything from a solutions perspective rather than a problem perspective. So now whenever someone spoke to me about an issue, or when someone bitched about someone else, I would spend less time sympathizing with them or bitching along with them and more time suggesting solutions. It became a sort of a second nature to me. And it has helped me tremendously in life in general and in work in particular.

When faced with a problem most of us start with "why it happened?", Or "how it happened?" Or, "because of whom it happened?". Well till here is still ok. Dwelling some more on the problem starts to get us thinking on "Oh Why me?", "Oh Why Now?", "How this will impact me?", "What will others think?" and even "Oh why does this happen to me only". As many of us would agree - now we are on the downhill path, and, the more we dwell on these things the faster we slide down & away. Self pity sinks in, loathing towards the world and everything around us starts to happen and soon we are in this "Oh poor me" frame of mind that we forget that problems are just part of life and so are solutions.

A problem is just a solution waiting to happen. But let's face it - some of us are problem oriented and some solution oriented. Right? Yes. But can we change? Yes. How? Well a simple approach could be to
  • First acknowledge there is a problem. Acknowledgement is the first step to dealing with it.
  • Think what could be the worst outcome. The absolute worst. That way we are done thinking our worst fears, then & there.
  • Now that we know what could be worst, lets also think what all could happen if we found a solution to the problem. All the positives.
  • And start looking at all probable solutions. Don't shoot down ANY solution, think of all possible solutions that we can think of. However bizarre.
  • Start working on the most practical looking solution or discuss the same with someone close. Remember - Discuss the solutions more than the problem. And start working on it.
  • Keep working on the solutions one after the other till one works. You will notice that as you work on the solutions, more possibilities will appear and chances are you will find a way out. 
  • Celebrate the working to a solution. Enjoy the process. That will help you to focus on the joy of solution hunting rather than the sorrow of dwelling on the problem itself.
  • If for any reason none of the solutions work, you will realize that the problem itself has lost significance and life goes on as you are concentrating on other things more important than the problem itself.

Looking for solutions also makes a person become more positive in his / her approach to everything in Life, more confident of oneself and overall more at peace internally. So try it. And do let me know if it helped you. If it didn't, then think what more, what else, you can do about it and then, let me know :-)

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