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Problem Solving Strategies

By Steve Gillman

What could you use a few good problem solving strategies for? New ideas for your business, perhaps. New ways to deal with your children. To come up with different approaches to building things, writing stories, or finding a job. Whatever the purpose, here are a couple powerful problem solving strategies.

Use Your Unconscious Mind

Use your unconscious mind to do your problem solving. Start by outlining a problem in your mind before going to sleep. Then tell your brain to go to work. Albert Einstein had good luck with this technique, sometimes getting his "ah-ha" insights while shaving the next morning.

Instruct your mind to keep working on the problem while you do other things. There is more than we know going on inside our heads. If you first work on a problem, then move on to other things while waiting for and expecting a solution, an answer may come to you when you least expect it.

You can also try working on problems when you are in a drowsy state. This is usually an "Alpha" state, and can result in more creative solutions. This is one of the best problem solving strategies for artistic work.

A Systematic Problem Solving Strategy

Train yourself to solve problems with one or more techniques. Just use a technique for several weeks, and it should become a habit. Here are a few to try:

1. Assumption-challenging. If you are assuming you need a better or higher-paying job, ask "do I really need a better job?" You could get a raise, or somehow make the job you have better. Starting a business on the side might be an option too. Never let your assumptions limit the possible solutions.

2. Solve the parts. To buy a house is a big move that is really a bunch of small steps, which is true of many problems. Address the components of a problem individually, and it may not seem so overwhelming. It is easier to motivate yourself in this way.

3. Ask other people. Whether or not they have good ideas, this helps you be sure you're not overlooking anything obvious.

4. Write the problem down. Find another way to express the problem and write that down. Keep writing down solutions and ideas that come to mind. Later you can pick the diamonds out of the dirt.

5. Change perspective. What if you were rich, poor, a child, a visitor from another planet? How would you see the problem from this new perspective? Einstein imagined riding on a beam of light, which lead to his theory of relativity, so this technique has been known to work.

There are dozens of good techniques you can use to solve problems. There are also other general methods, like clearing a space to work in, or alternating between intense analysis and intuitive daydreaming. However many ways there are, though, it is using them that counts. If used well, you only need a few good problem solving strategies.

About The Author
Steve Gillman has been studying brainpower enhancement, creative problem solving, and related topics for years.

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