Using Solution-Based Thinking
Are you using solution-based thinking? Did you know that some experts say our minds think between 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day? Others say it’s only 50,000 thoughts every day. Still, that means we’re thinking at least 2,100 thoughts every single hour. One thought every two seconds. And I’m guessing that a lot of us think a lot more thoughts than that.
The thing is that most of these thoughts are not really productive. They’re thoughts we’ve thought before, negative judgments and reactions, or just useless chatter. But our brains can do much better for us. Especially right now when it seems like we’re facing challenges every day, we need to train our brains to do solution-oriented thinking.
A lot has been written about this but let me break it down in five simple steps: Step one, start with the right attitude. Decades ago, comedian Will Rogers said, “If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.” Stop complaining about it and worrying about how it could get worse.
Face whatever challenge it is like a superhero, like Batman facing the Joker.
Have the attitude that nothing can defeat you and that there is a solution to this problem. Step two, figure out a solution for the long run. Some people try to solve challenges like they’re playing “whack a mole.” They find a quick solution for a small piece of the issue, but then other problems pop up. Some of the new problems that pop up are pieces that the first solution didn’t cover.
Some of the new problems are actually issues that the first solution created. For example, what if the problem is your kids won’t clean their rooms? A “whack a mole” approach might be to lock them in their rooms until the rooms are clean, right? But this is going to create very grumpy kids, it won’t work for the long run and doesn’t solve the underlying issue of your kids not pitching in.
Before you try to come up with solutions, stop and analyze the result you’re really trying to create and not just a band-aid that gets you only part of what you want. Like in the example of getting kids to clean their rooms: What you really want is for the kids to pitch in without nagging and for them to learn about responsibility, right? It’s not just about clean rooms. Step three, get creative and brainstorm. We’re facing some challenges right now that we’ve never faced before so we need to get really creative.
Brainstorming just means coming up with all possible solutions.
While you’re brainstorming, nothing is off the table. Don’t critique or censor any idea, even the wacky ones. You just might find that those wacky ones have a grain of genius. Write all of your ideas down–the good, the bad and the ugly. Brainstorm until you come up with at least 20 possibilities.
Step four, consider each potential solution on your list. Give each idea a moment to see if it could possibly get you the result you want. Then check to see if you could actually implement it. If not, is there a version of that idea that could work?
Step five, just try it!
When we come up with a new solution for something, we can’t be certain it will work. But if you take action with it, you’ll either succeed or you’ll learn something that will bring you closer to a really great solution. Try using these steps for all of your big and small challenges. I guarantee you’ll come up with more positive, long-lasting solutions for whatever you’re facing.
Using Solution-Based Thinking
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