Ten Steps To Solving Any Problem
By Dr. Jill Ammon-Wexler, Pioneer brain/mind researcher | December 31, 2006
Any problem, no matter how complex, can be solved if approached with a creative strategy. Here are ten steps to getting your mind in an optimal problem-solving state.
Step 1. Start with Some Focused Questions.
The first step to unleashing your true problem-solving potential is to ask yourself some very focused, challenging questions. Here are some very powerful questions that will often do the trick:
- What am I really trying to do?
- How am I trying to do it?
- What assumptions am I making?
- Could there be a simpler, better way to accomplish this?
- If I were to start all over again today - knowing what I now know - what would I do differently?
Step 2. Question your Answers.
The next step is to question your answers. Ask yourself:
- If my assumptions are untrue, what should I do differently?
- Should I drop what I am doing now, and take a different approach?
- Is all of this in my best interests?
Step 3. Apply the Theory of Resistance.
One effective way to get some creative solutions to your problems is to apply the "theory of resistance." This theory says that in every activity, there are one or more resisting factors.
The resistance you encounter often controls how fast you'll move from where you are today - to where you want to go. The good thing is this about identifying resistance is this: you'll often trigger some very powerful personal insights.
Suppose, for example, your have a goal of doubling your income over the next three years. You could begin your problem-solving exercise by identifying the resistance standing in the way of your goal. Ask yourself: "Why is my income not that high already?"
Step 4. Analyze the Resistance.
Next ruthlessly go after your answers to Step 3. Be totally honest with yourself. Don't avoid asking hard, painful questions, and demand an answer from yourself. In the case above you could ask: "Exactly why am I not making twice my income right now? Exactly what is holding me back?"
Step 5. Take a Look at the Outside World.
One way to immediately determine if the resistance is internal or external is to see if someone else is managing to accomplish the goal you desire. If they are, then you can safely conclude the resistance is internal to you.
Step 6. Identify your Primary Internal Resistance.
As a consultant to key executives, I have often discovered that usually 80% of what holds us back lies within ourselves - and only 20% in the outside world. So if you have not achieved what you desire, the best place to begin to look for the source of the resistance is within yourself.
Plus, since it's so tough to create change in the outside world, it's far more effective to focus on yourself anyway. You're far more likely to get the results you want!
Superior achievers tend to ask one question when they're not moving ahead: "What is it inside me, or that I am doing or thinking, that is holding me back?"
Step 7. Get Ruthless.
There's a powerful old saying that's very appropriate here: "When a man's fight begins with himself, he is really worth something."
So sharpen your teeth and bite into your primary internal source of resistance. Demand answers from yourself. You need to know how you are placing limitations on your desired achievement, and look it right in the eyeballs.
Step 8. Turn on the Lights.
The more often you repeat this process, the better you'll get at it. This process switches on your mental headlight, and you'll begin to spot internal resistance before it grabs you by the ankle.
Step 9. Constantly Examine your Goal.
Now that you have your mental headlight on, take a close look at your goal. Make sure you've set a clearly defined goal that you have a burning and passionate desire to achieve.
Combining your goal with the intense emotion of desire or excitement puts you into the upper level of achievers. The more excited and enthusiastic you are about your goal, the more rapidly your mind will go to work to bring the goal into your life.
Continue to ask focused questions to generate more ideas about to achieve your goal. The more intenseyour questions, the more ideas you will generate! And once you have sunk your teeth into your key internal resistance, you have placed your feet solidly on the high road to success.
Step 10. Become a Professional Problem Solver Brain
Tracy says, "A goal you have not yet achieved is simply a problem you have not yet solved."
In fact, whatever your goal, your real job is to solve any and all problems that stand between you and the achievement of that goal. Your success in life, your career, your relationship, and your business all depend on one thing - your ability to understand and solve problems.