No Problems?

A problem-free life is not humanly attainable.  Not having the immediate answer to a problem is not as important as knowing you can find a solution.  Having the right tools and skill set can give you a great deal of confidence in your journey through life.

How does one undertake solving a problem?  To answer this question, let begin by envisioning a model of the problem.  You know the problem well, but in designing your model you want the solution to be obvious.  You do this all the time in your daily life, but this is different.  The problem exists because you have no resolution.  If only you had a way of finding that (re)solution.

Let’s look at how businesses solve problems.  Some companies have a position called ombudsmen whose role is to help employees solve problems.   Other companies may call a special meeting to run a brainstorming session bringing together problem solvers who have a wide range of experiences.  But you don’t have these resources.

Suppose in your envisioned model, you had your own personal ombudsman.  He has a file drawer called Solutions.  He has all kinds of solutions including one for you, but since there are so many, he needs to ask a few question about your problem so he can give you the right solution.  Your conversation with your ombudsman is a negotiation, an exchange consisting of questions where you provide the answers and possibly ask questions.

As the ombudsman listens to your problem and the questioning becomes narrower and focused, your ombudsman may switch tracks to starts a whole new line of questions.  This is to approach the problem to get a different view of the situation as you know it.  This switch comes when your answers become vague or unsure.   The probing has run into new territory you may not have thought about before.  This could be a source of answers if you give yourself time to think about these possibilities.

During the exchange describing the problem, the solution will come to you.  Just in how you describe the situation, you are listening to yourself.  You may realize you left something out.  This is like forgetting to attach the file in an email.  If the solution or a new approach doesn’t come to mind, sleep on it to give your mind a rest to process the whole consideration afresh.

Another approach is to write down your description.  Log it by writing it up and date it!  There will come a time when you can write down the eventual solution.  The written word is important because you can never tell when the same or similar problem may occur again.  You may have forgotten the solution.  Since much of life consists of referencing the Internet, include the source URL and screen shots.

Following the pattern of business mentioned above, consult with another person, the Internet, or call the help desk.  If you can describe your problem to them well enough to have them understand it, your efforts could lead straight to an answer.  Their questions may alert you to a missing component you had not considered.  Just like in the previously described exchange, you may by listening to yourself realize the solution.  Also, in the questions asked by your sounding board, may highlight a deficiency in your explanation but have trouble explaining simply.  This forces you to reconsider the problem from a different viewpoint to make a better explanation.

Just like when you were a small child, you learned to tie your shoes (BV—before Velcro) and not everyone has an immediate grasp of all the consequences of their actions.  There is a first time for everything, and you can take pride in your successes.

Finding a job is a difficult problem, one that needs a whole host of approaches and solutions.  I have developed a program called “Six Step to a Paycheck” in my book: Finding a  Job in Tough Times.  Visit for more information about this reflective workbook.

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