One of the things that makes us human is our ability to solve problems. After all, if we couldn’t solve problems with some modicum of success, we probably wouldn’t be here.
In fact, life can be a series of problems. (Depending on the day, some people might say that life IS a series of problems.) It’s how we handle these problems, how we rise to the challenge, that defines us.
If you study history, many of the most admired people in history were commensurate problem solvers. Some of the most successful people in the world today are, at heart, professional problem solvers. It’s because of this, that training yourself to improve your problem solving skills is an excellent way to also improve your decision making skills.
If you think about it a problem is simply another word for a decision. All decisions arise from some type of problem, albeit small.
On the other hand, all problems require some type of decision in order to be solved. The two concepts are, in a way, intertwined. Each one is related to the other and each one requires the other for resolution. If you think about it, it’s rather neat.
So, it can be said, that problem solving skills are, in fact, decision making skills in disguise.
One of the first steps you can take to improve your problem solving skills is to train yourself to take the time to think about the problem you’re facing. When you do this, you begin to see the series of decisions that need to be taken in order to solve the problem. Each of these decisions involve choices and each of these choices leads to a probable result.
Therefore, if you pick the result you want and work backwards through the choices, you’ll arrive at the decisions you need to make to solve the problem. This focus on outcome is a powerful tool.
Another way to improve your problem solving skills is to organize the process of finding a solution.
Remember that your problem is really only a decision or two away from being solved. This, in turn, will help you focus on the fact that a problem is only a decision in disguise.
When you organize the risks involved in each choice you need to make, you can begin to see which choices will have more bearing on solving the problem at hand. This in turn, allows you to pick the choice that makes the most sense, given the nature of the problem. With the right choice in hand, a solution to the problem is right around the corner.