Problem-solving skills have become as crucial for survival as stress handling skills. Contrary to what many believe, these skills are not genetic – they can be learned and practiced, albeit with commitment and effort.
Problems come in two main categories – temporary and permanent problems. Permanent problems are issues that you have little or no control over, things you cannot change or influence. These are issues you have to accept and live with and the only choice you have is to adapt your mindset or attitude and manage your own complaining.
Temporary problems can be solved or changed to some degree, through choices you can make and actions you can take. The choices might require that you leave your comfort zone, change your behaviour or give up on methods that used to work for you. Weight or health challenges, problems at work, or in relationships, are examples of temporary or solvable problems.
The biggest mistake people make is to focus on permanent problems, while they know that they can in no way alter the situation. What we should be focussing on, are our temporary problems. They can be changed or solved through actions – or choosing to leave a place, job, or relationship because it has become unbearable.
A starting point for solving problems is to make the choice to leave the victim zone and take the bull by the horns. List all your complaints and frustrations and separate the temporary from the permanent problems. Ask yourself what you can do to change your mindset towards unfixable problems.
Now prioritise your temporary problems and think of the choices you have. Remember that it is seldom possible to have your bread buttered on both sides – choices will always involve some form of compromise or unease.
It is advisable to formulate WHY you would like to solve a specific problem before you identify HOW and WHAT you could do to influence or change your situation. Look back on your successes and keep your problem-solving tool kit handy for challenges to come.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for!