The Power of Problem Solving
In his book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*” Mark Manson writes, “To be happy we need something to solve. Happiness is therefore a form of action.” Not only have I found this to be profoundly true, it has been trans formative in my own approach to wellness.
These problems do not have to be substantial, they just have to be problematic – it’s really that simple. What I have found in my own personal work as well as my professional work with clients is that once a problem is identified, regardless of the gravity of the problem, implementing a solution can boost mood. Problem-solving is empowering. As wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and colleagues we have a lot on our plate and some days we just wake up BLAH. What I hope for you is that in some small way knowing the power of problem-solving will bring about hopeful change.
Some need anecdotes and others need steps. Here is a bit of both.
A Problem-Solving Story:
I met with one of my amazing clients, a couple who has been married for more than a decade. What we discussed in one of our first meetings was a problem with hair products. This problem had caused this couple to become frustrated with one another. His hair products were strewn about on the spare bathroom counter and when guests came over they would argue about the hair products. She hoped for them to be put away, out of sight, and he did not like the idea of constantly relocating them. In about five minutes I was able to generate an option, one they both could accept. I walked to my bathroom and brought out a cigar box filled with my husbands “man products”. The cigar box was filled with hair products, beard oil, razors, etc. and sat neatly organized on my bathroom counter. I found the box at Don’s Humidor, a local cigar shop for $5 a few months earlier. It matched my bathroom and it served a great purpose – keep my husband’s products in one place. If I wanted to put it away it only took a few seconds. This couple left my office, headed to the cigar shop and bought their own $5 cigar box. Problem solved! It was my hope during the meeting to help this couple resolve a small problem, something that was (even momentarily) eroding their happiness.
So, here are some super simple steps to problem-solving. Keep in mind, all these steps may not be necessary!
Step 1. Identify a problem.
Step 2. Ask someone you trust to help you generate some options for solving the problem.
Step 3. Gather what you need to solve the problem (people, resources, etc.).
Step 4. Solve the problem.
This process can take as little as a few minutes. It does not have to be complicated. If you find yourself in a crummy mood, find a problem. Maybe you have blankets laying around in your living room and they aren’t in their place, or need to be washed, take two minutes to put the blankets in the wash or in their place. #moodbooster That’s it.
A Few More Things:
Tackle one problem at a time. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Refrain from gathering TONS of information before you act., Celebrate your problem-solving success. Embrace your “failure” as another opportunity to solve a problem. Mark Manson also writes, “If you lack the motivation to make an important change in your life, do something – anything, really – and then harness the reaction to that action as a way to begin motivating yourself.” There is great power in simply doing something.
Solutions do not have to be complicated or expensive in order to impact your happiness. In fact, the simpler and less costly the solution, the greater impact it will have on your long-term happiness. By solving one problem in a speedy and inexpensive way you are not creating two more (debt, loss of time & energy).
You’ve got this!