Got a Problem? Here's How You Solve It
Use Your Noggin
There was an episode of a self-improvement podcast I was listening to where the host took caller questions.
One guy made the effort to call in, wait patiently until it was his turn to ask this question:
“About cryptocurrencies…Bitcoin is really expensive. Is there a way to buy them in smaller increments?”
I was like, “Dude! Are you for real? In the time you were waiting you could have found the answer yourself.”
Here, let me Google that for you.
Look, there are times we all ask questions without thinking first.
But if you’re always relying on others for help or to provide you with answers, how can you expect to reach your full potential?
Figure it Out
How do you think the greatest inventions were developed?
Did the Chinese unearth instructions on how to make paper, compasses, or gunpowder?
Did scientists one day clean up their lab only to find, connect, and turn on the plug that started the internet?
They all worked through countless failures until finding a solution for the problem they needed to solve.
Sure, your problems may not make the history books, but self-reliance and resourcefulness are qualities you should possess.
They’ll get you out of binds when looking for a way out, or out in the wilderness, needing to start a fire.
And save you some dosh in the long run.
Ever hired a tradesperson?
Or taken your vehicle to a mechanic?
Their hourly rate ain’t cheap and some things can easily be done yourself.
A tenant in one of my investment properties reported a faulty light switch.
A job so basic, but being interstate, a local handyman was engaged.
I read the bill.
Parts - $10.00
Labour - $80.00
Now, I’m not saying you need to know how to do everything.
And being a “Jack of all trades, master of none” shouldn’t be taken so literally.
A well-rounded individual able to do many things makes them both competent and interesting.
They’re not a one-trick pony.
Many renovate their home, perform oil changes themselves.
It’s because they’re trying to save and/or enjoy doing the work.
If the dollar value of your time is high and it’s not your thing, hire someone.
But in the digital age where answers are in the palm of your hands, there’s no excuse to not possess some rudimentary skills.
Like knowing how to cook.
I’ve known individuals who relied on accommodating flatmates, otherwise ate unhealthy (frozen) meals, or ordered take out.
Why? So you can get back to your video games?
The health problems you create for your future self come down to your food choices.
Don’t wait for it to become an issue before addressing it.
Learn to tackle anything to the best of your ability before seeking help, that way you establish a foundation of knowledge, improving the questions you ask.
So, if we revisit our crypto friend, he’ll understand core concepts going into the call and instead ask, “In your opinion, what is a good exchange/platform to trade cryptocurrency on?”
This is a stronger question because:
It engages the other person as they’re offering personal experience (and people like to talk about themselves) instead of answering basic questions.
It provides you sound advice and a starting point vs conducting further research of all trading platforms on your own.
Become a Problem Solver
Life is about you solving problems.
From something as simple as “What’s for dinner?” to those requiring more consideration like “What am I meant to achieve in this life?”
The greater the problem, the more essential to be analytical, creative, and logical to derive intelligent, viable solutions.
Have a “can-do” attitude, be persistent, and recognise your problem-solving skills will improve with exposure.
There are models you can follow.
Key points are:
Identify the problem – is there one and if so, how can you define it? How is it impacting your life? Ask questions to determine what it is you’re trying to solve.
Analyse – get clear and break down why the problem exists. This may require being brutally honest with yourself. Consider the 5 Whys method to repeatedly ask “Why?” to a defined problem until the root cause is determined.
Find solutions – list all you can think of, that way you’re working on thinking laterally. There are no bad ideas because you’re considering every option.
Decide – narrow down to the best solutions, pick one and go with it.
Many jobs incorporate aptitude and psychometric testing as part of the application process to assess your problem-solving and reasoning skills.
Should you progress to an interview, expect competency-based problem-solving questions such as:
Give me an example of a time you…
- Encountered a difficult problem. How did you solve it?
- Recognised a potential problem. What did you do?
- Worked through a problem as a team.
It’s vital to understand the process, what competencies the interviewers focus on and how best to prepare.
You have the ability, you’re just not exercising your problem-solving muscle so before we conclude, solve this problem (without looking up the answer!):
A farmer needs to cross a river with his wolf, sheep, and cabbage; problem being, the boat is only big enough to carry the farmer and one other item.
If he takes the wolf, the sheep will eat the cabbage.
If he takes the cabbage, the wolf will eat the sheep.
How does the farmer successfully get everything across?
“If you want to be strong, learn how to fight alone.”
Rely on yourself to solve problems as help won’t always be at hand.
Doing so builds confidence, independence, and know-how.
Some problems are complex, require well thought out solutions, however, growth comes from trying your best, no matter the outcome, moving you closer to your full potential.
The level you reach is up to you.