Introduction To Problem Solving
If you are like some people, you would love to have the ability to easily solve problems. Problems are a fact of life. Everyone one has them, and it doesn't matter whether you're rich or poor. All of us have problems that we must deal with on a daily basis.
Our ability to properly handle these problems can lead to a life which is rich in success and low in stress, failure, or anxiety. With current understanding, problem solving is more of an art than a science. There are no universally accepted methods which can be used to help people solve problems.
However, there are some factors that have been found in people who are proficient with solving their problems. One of these factors is flexibility. Not placing barriers on yourself will give you a much wider range of possible solutions. The basic structure for problem solving can be broken down into four parts, and these are understanding the problem, creating a plan, utilizing the plan, and reviewing the plan. Understand these four parts will allow you to greatly improve your problem solving skills. It is first important to clearly understand the problem.
While the problem is not something you will want to focus on, it needs to be understood. People who have difficulties solving problems generally don't understand them. If you don't understand the problem, coming up with a relevant solution will be next to impossible. The first thing you will want to do is study the main parts of the problem. The parts of a problem are basically broken down into two types, and these are "find" problems and "proof" problems. Find problems require you to find out information about something in order to achieve a desired result. For example, a business man will want to find a way to earn money on a business model.
A proof problem requires you to develop a hypothesis. While the "find" part of the problem requires you to get a collection of information, the "proof"phase of the problem requires you to make a hypothesis based on the data. For example, the business man will want to use the find phase for collecting information on the market for his particular products or services, and he will use the "proof" phase to make a hypothesis about his business model.
When you solve a problem, you don't want to make assumptions about things that aren't facts. For example, the business man in my example will not want to assume that there is a market for his products or services. He will want to base his assumptions on statistics and facts from reputable sources.
Once you have carefully looked at both parts of the problem, you will next want to devise a solution. Coming up with a solution requires you to study the "find" and "proof" portions of the problem. Once this information is clearly defined, you will want to begin approaching the problem for multiple entry points. Instead of starting at the front end, why not start at the back end or the middle? When you approach the problem, you should also base your approach off previous experience you have in a specific area. While there is no one method which can work for all problems, you will want to use what is called heuristics.
Heuristics is data which can help you solve problems. If you've encountered a problem before, the heuristics should give you an idea of how it shouild be solved. If you failed previously when trying to solve this problem, past experience should tell you that a different solution should be used to solve the same problem. You will also need to spend a bit of time studying the connection between information, unknowns, and conditions. Every problem that you are trying to solve will require you to have facts, not assumptions which aren't based on facts.
Many people improperly solve problems because they don't use skills which are based on logic. Instead, they will try to solve a problem with emotion. Attempting to solve a problem with emotion almost always leads to failure. A problem should always be solved by logic. The solution that you come up with should be based on relevant facts.