When you learn the basics of problem-solving it will be a skill that you use automatically.
In last week’s post, I outlined five basic components of problem solving; questions you need to ask to find the solution you want. Today you will set the criteria to resolve your problem and learn how to identify exactly what the main problem is.
Identify the problem – define the conflict
Whether the question is how to advance beyond basic survival, how to prepare for your financial future, or how to better communicate with your spouse, it is crucial that the problem be correctly defined.
Unless the problem is correctly defined, you will be trying to rid yourself of emotional distress rather than resolving the actual problem.
We experience problems every day that require some kind of action. Most are insignificant, or require little thought, such as, What will I wear today? Do I want to take the weekend off and get away? We make a decision and move on.
But other problems are more complex with more serious outcomes, such as, How can I make enough money to support my family or care for an aging parent? How do I survive this pandemic?
One problem often has a multitude of other problems attached, each requiring thought and consideration. An aging spouse with health issues may require additional care.
What is your daily time routine? Habits and time management go hand-in-hand. If you want to maximize your time, you need to put habits in place that will help you follow those guidelines.
Next week you will learn what keeps habits in place. But first, let’s set up a time management program that works for you.
Time management is more than making to-do lists.
We all make lists of things to be done and then either abandon them or become stressed in the process of trying to get everything done. And we tend to do the things we like doing first and then put the rest on hold until we feel like it.
You have grieved, accepted, let go and are now ready to put your energy into making plans for the future.
Before making any major long-term goals, some preliminary questions can help you avoid a lot of wasted time and energy. Some of those questions include identifying your strengths and weaknesses.
Have you given thoughtful consideration to what you would like to do in the future and what obstacles or barriers you may encounter?
Starting over is never easy.
When we started out in life, it seemed there was a more defined path to follow: going to college, establishing a career, getting married, starting a family, etc. Somehow it was easier to coordinate all the pieces and move in the direction we wanted to go.
We are defined by many things in life: our relationships, our roles, our handicaps.
What defines you? My youngest son was an artist. He started drawing as soon as he could hold a pencil. Even the simplest stick figures he drew had character and substance. His creativity seemed to flow out of him like water from a pitcher. He would draw for hours.
He loved to draw faces – faces that so expressed the characteristics of the individual that it never required anything more – you saw the whole person in the face. Within the expressions, there was passion, confidence, longing, sadness, robust strength, humor, wisdom, and understanding. Even today as I look at his drawings, I marvel at the depth of disclosure in his drawings that revealed so much of the human spirit and soul.
We live in an age when information is available 24/7. Just install the right app and push the right button and you have anything and everything you want.
But do we?
We sign up for interesting and exciting courses online thinking when we have completed them, we will be able to bake a cake, take apart a car engine or know the best ways to travel. While all of this is wonderful and exciting, there is one step missing. Application.
Throughout this year, my blog posts have offered information, tools and strategies to meet the everyday challenges of life. But that information is just that – information – until it is used. Until we personally apply the information that can help us, it will simply remain good ideas.
Life is a question and how we live it is our answer.
What is character and why does it matter?
As we go through life, we are putting in place those qualities that identify and define who we are. It is a combination of things such as generosity, loyalty, devotion, etc., but even more important, our moral and ethical standards and principles.
Am I honest? Can you trust my word?
Do I live my beliefs and values?
Do others know I have integrity and will stand up for what is right, even at a personal cost?
My principles, values, morals and ethics not only define who I am but help me make sound decisions that maximize my talents in positive and constructive ways.