The most effective people aren’t magical or geniuses or any different than you; they have simply developed their problem-solving skills. Because of this, they have the ability to be persistent … to not give up. In fact, I’d say that those with good problem-solving skills achieve more because they use their skills to persist in the face of challenges. They can stick to a task, no matter how difficult it may be.
The best way to develop your problem-solving skills is to understand that there are many ways to overcome a challenge. Think of it as having a repertoire of problem-solving solutions. When you have the ability to think of different options, you can keep trying. In contrast, if you only have one way to solve a problem and it doesn’t work, you will have a tendency to give up.
When you have a plan and can think of multiple ways to solve a problem, you will naturally persist. If one approach doesn’t work, you can enact Plan B, and then Plan C, and then Plan D, etc. You can continue until you are satisfied with the results.
The concept of problem-solving or persisting has to do with knowing how to behave when you DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER. Unfortunately, in school, we became accustomed to receiving homework and tests back with a score assigned. The score represented the number of answers we knew. But the critical point in life is not the number of correct answers we know; it’s how we behave when we don’t know.
Most of the problems we face in life have no easy answers. When confronted with a dilemma, an enigma, or a problem that is ambiguous, do you think of alternatives to meet the challenge? Or do you say to yourself, “I can’t do this,” and then give up?
Tip: It’s more beneficial to learn and teach three ways to solve one problem than it is to teach one way to solve three problems.
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