Have you ever thought of yourself as a problem solver? I’m guessing not. But in reality we are constantly solving problems. And the better we are at it, the easier our lives are.

Problems arise in many shapes and forms. They can be mundane, everyday problems, or larger more complex problems:

  • What to have for dinner tonight?
  • Which route to take to work?
  • How to fix a project that’s running behind schedule?
  • How to change from an uninspiring job to a career you’re really passionate about?

Every day you’ll be faced with at least one problem to solve. But it gets easier when you realise that problems are simply choices. There’s nothing ‘scary’ about them other than having to make a decision.

No matter what job you’re in, where you live, who your partner is, how many friends you have; you will be judged on your ability to solve problems. Because problems equal hassles for everyone concerned. And people don’t like hassle. So the more problems you can solve, the less hassle all-round, the happier people are with you. Everyone wins.


Problem solving skills are for our everyday lives.

Problem is something hard to understand or accomplish or deal with. It can be a task, a situation, or even a person. Problem solving involves methods and skills to find the best solutions to problems.

Problem solving is important because we all have decisions to make, questions to answer in our lives. Amazing people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are all great problems solvers. Good parents, teachers, doctors and waiters, they all have to be good at solving different sort of problems as well.

So what can you do to enhance your problem solving skills?

You don’t have to be super smart to be a problem solver, you just need practice.

Most people believe that you have to be very intelligent in order to be a good problem solver, but that’s not true. When you understand the different steps to solve a problem, you’ll be able to come up with great solutions.

1. Focus on the solution – not the problem

Neuroscientists have proven that your brain cannot find solutions if you focus on the problem.[1] This is because when you focus on the problem you’re effectively feeding ‘negativity’ which in turn activates negative emotions in the brain. These emotions block potential solutions.


I’m not saying you should ‘ignore the problem’ – instead try and remain calm. It helps to first acknowledge the problem and then move your focus to a solution-oriented mindset where you keep fixed on what the ‘answer’ could be instead of lingering on ‘what went wrong’ and ‘who’s fault it is’.

2. Adapt 5 Whys to clearly define the problem

By repeatedly asking the question “why” on a problem, you can dig into the root cause of a problem, and that’s how you can find the best solution to tackle the root problem once and for all. (And it can go deeper than just asking why for five times.) For example:

Problem: Always late to work

  • Why am I late to work?
    I always click the snooze button and just want to go on sleeping.
  • Why do I want to go on sleeping?
    I feel so tired in the morning.
  • Why do I feel tired in the morning?
    I slept late the night before, that’s why.
  • Why did I sleep late?
    I wasn’t sleepy after drinking coffee, and I just kept scrolling my Facebook feed and somehow I couldn’t stop.
  • Why did I drink coffee?
    Because I was too sleepy at work in the afternoon, not having enough sleep the night before.

So there you see, if you didn’t try to dig out the root of the problem, you may just set a few more alarms and have it beep every five minutes in the morning. But in fact, the problem you need to solve is to quit Facebook surfing endlessly at night so you’ll feel more energetic in the day time, and you won’t need coffee.

3. Simplify things

As human beings, we have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be! Try simplifying your problem by generalizing it.


Remove all the details and go back to the basics. Try looking for a really easy, obvious solution – you might be surprised at the results! And we all know that it’s often the simple things that are the most productive.[2]

4. List out as many solutions as possible

Try and entertain ‘ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS’ – even if they seem ridiculous at first. It’s important you keep an open mind to boost creative thinking, which can trigger potential solutions. Coming from 10 years in the corporate advertising industry it is drummed into you that ‘No idea is a bad idea’ and this aids creative thinking in brainstorms and other problem-solving techniques. Whatever you do – do not ridicule yourself for coming up with ‘stupid solutions’ as it’s often the crazy ideas that trigger other more viable solutions.

5. Think laterally

Change the ‘direction’ of your thoughts by thinking laterally.[3] Pay attention to the saying, ‘You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging it deeper”. Try to change your approach and look at things in a new way. You can try flipping your objective around and looking for a solution that is the polar opposite!

Even if it feels silly, a fresh & unique approach usually stimulates a fresh solution.

6. Use language that creates possibility

Lead your thinking with phrases like ‘what if…’ and ‘imagine if…’ These terms open up our brains to think creatively and encourage solutions.

Avoid closed, negative language such as ‘I don’t think…’ or ‘This is not right but…’.

There’s nothing scary about a problem when you start to adapt my advice.

Try not to view problems as ‘scary’ things! If you think about it what is a problem? It’s really just feedback on your current situation.

All a problem is telling you is that something is not currently working and that you need to find a new way around it.

So try and approach problems neutrally – without any judgment. Practice focusing on defining a problem, keep calm and not to make things too complicated.

[1] ^ Planet of Success: Problem vs Solution Focused Thinking
[2] ^ Lifehack: The Benefits of Simple Productivity
[3] ^ Lifehack: Think Laterally

Source : lifehack.org 

Categorized in Others

What strikes the minds of ordinary people who want to start a business in Nepal? A clothing store? A beauty parlour? A restaurant? Or a lounge bar? The techno-savvy ones, on the other hand, would probably think of starting an e-commerce company or may be a social networking site.

In other words, many aspiring entrepreneurs only think of copying someone else’s ideas, tweaking them a bit and rolling out the products as their own.

Well, this may work, but only in markets like China, according to Mahesh Murthy, managing partner of Mumbai-based Seedfund. China, for instance, has developed a replica version of Google search engine called Baidu. It also has its own Facebook in the form of Renren. And it has created the replica of Amazon called Alibaba.

“But Nepal is not like China. And it’s very likely that Google of Nepal will be the [authentic version of] Google itself, and Facebook of Nepal will be Facebook [created by Mark Zuckerberg]. So, don’t try to copy and paste, unless the government creates regulatory barriers to protect the [domestic] market,” Murthy told the NEXT Growth Conclave, a one-day seminar organised by M&S NEXT Venture Corp in Kathmandu on Sunday to promote start-up culture in the country.

Murthy, who has an employment history of around 35 years and has invested in start-up companies for the last 17 years, was of the view that “what works in one market may not work in the other”, as billions of dollars have been spent to create the next Amazon and Facebook and “they have failed”.

“So, create a product that creates delight. For this, your product needs to be different than others. [With this combination], that product can dominate the market,” Murthy told over 500 participants of the first-of-its-kind conference titled “Decoding Business Growth”, which brought together 12 prominent speakers from Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Nepal and Thailand.

Murthy was trying to drive home the point that only companies that can create a niche for themselves can survive in this competitive world.

But how to come up with such an idea? Or, rather, how to create an entrepreneurial mindset that has the ability to think differently?

For this, one has to be motivated to learn, according to Joseph Jeong, founder of Hong Kong-based Oracle Strategies Cyberport. “Earlier, our brain was used as a hard drive to remember things,” Jeong explained. “Today, [because of digital revolution], our brain has started operating as a CPU [central processing unit], because everything one wants to learn is online. So, if you are willing to learn, you can find a mentor online.”


This learning might help one find passion and purpose, which will enable the aspiring entrepreneurs to set the “moonshot” goal, according to Jeong.

So, what can those “moonshot” goals be?

It can be anything, and you might stumble upon one, if you look around, identify problems and think of ways to create values, according to Sambhav Sirohiya, founding chairman of M&S NEXT Venture Corp.

“The biggest opportunities lie in biggest troubles.... Look around, we are living in one of the world’s poorest countries. As sad as it sounds, opportunities are sitting right here in front of you. So don’t focus on creating another website or another social media site. Think of bio-technology, robotics, 3D printers, and ending world poverty,” Sirohiya said, adding, success lies in creating values—true and honest values.

NEXT Launchpad rolled out

M&S NEXT Venture Corp on Sunday launched “NEXT Launchpad”, a mentorship-driven start-up accelerator programme, which prepares entrepreneurs. At the Launchpad, budding entrepreneurs go through four months of intensive learning and are taught how to refine business models, says the company. The mentors of the Launchpad are industry experts and veterans. The programme concludes when entrepreneurs present their growing companies to investors to secure funding. (PR)

Source : http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com

Categorized in Business Research

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