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Posts Categorized: Problem Solving

What Did You Learn?

Throughout our lives we are learning. When we were little, we learned by doing and experimenting: falling down, getting hurt and gradually discovering what not to do.

We learn from our parents what we should and shouldn’t do. But the learning that had the most influence is what we learned by observing. It’s not so much what is said – but what is lived.

Kids in school and teachers have a huge impact on our lives. There is a lot of social learning as well as book learning that happens during those school years. How am I treated by other kids? Am I accepted or rejected? Is it easy for me to make friends or am I excluded? And what do I have to do to be in that inner circle?

Later, learning takes us into more formal academic settings where we get our degrees before entering the rough and tumble life of the real world where jobs dictate what and how things should be done.

Throughout the years we will continue to gather information, taking classes that enhance our lives in some way.

Self Correcting

My husband and I were sailboat cruisers. We moved to the beautiful northern Washington area so we could take advantage of the wonderful cruising opportunities available in the San Juan Islands.

When you do any serious sailing or cruising it is important to learn the rules of the road, know where the shipping lanes are, what the different buoys mean, know how to chart a course and take into consideration prevailing winds, tides and currents. Without these basics you can easily get into trouble.

So it is in life. We need to learn what it means to be comfortable at the helm, where the rip tides are, how to avoid submerged but dangerous rocks and where the safe passages are located.

Preparation not only includes knowledge of the areas where we are sailing, but also preparation of the boat and ourselves.

There were times when we had charted a course, set the boat on its path and then were able to activate the automatic pilot – a self-steering apparatus which enabled you to take your hand off the wheel and allow the automatic pilot to take over. But you never left the area – you continued to monitor where you were going so in a moment’s notice you could resume control of the helm.

I know what I can’t do – But what can I do?

We had just built and moved into our new home and were in various stages of unpacking and trying to find a place to put things.

A vertebra in my lower back had been gradually deteriorating putting pressure on a sciatic nerve. Without warning, it could trigger a spasm in my left leg, culminating in a leg cramp that locked my entire leg in a rigid position. Once locked, I was unable to move it until it had run its course.

However, if given enough warning, I could alter the outcome of the spasm. If caught early enough, I


The phone hasn’t stopped ringing – the kids are fighting again – the teacher called to schedule an emergency conference about your child’s schoolwork – your boss is uncompromising as the company instigates new policies, little time for training and additional workloads for everyone – you can’t afford to lose your job – nobody seems to care – and you are exhausted.

All you want is a quiet evening of peace and quiet, free from any more problems. And then the phone rings, and you cry, “Not another problem, Lord. I can’t take anymore.”

But this time the phone call is from your best friend, who patiently listens as you unload your frustrations. But when you hang up the phone, although some of the pressure has been lifted, you know it will begin again. You have asked God for strength, thanked Him for your special friend and the daily strength He gives you. But the problems are still there and you know you can’t continue like this.

Problem Solving – Step 3 – Evaluate and Choose

You have identified the problem, looked at it from different positions and expanded it to include all possible contributing factors. In the process, you have compared it to other problems you may have had and resolved; then proceeded to compile a list of possible solutions.

As you brainstormed and generated possibilities, fresh ideas were inserted into your list without preliminary judgment or comparisons. With inspiration exhausted, the time has now come to evaluate and prioritize.

Which are relevant and helpful to your situation? 

Problem Solving – Step 2

Once we have accurately identified the problem, we can begin looking for solutions. Step two in problem solving allows us to tap into our creativity and think of choices to consider. Step 2: Generate a List of Possible Solutions This is not the place to limit your thinking.  Make a list of anything that comes…