Published July 12, 2020 by with 0 comment

Developing A Solution-Oriented Mindset

In everyday life, we come across a lot of different problems. Whether we accept it or not, but problems are an integral part of our lives, and play a major role in the kind of person we develop into. When dealt with a problem, we primarily see two kinds of mindsets.

The first one, where we focus on the problem, complaining about why the problem came up in first place. We tend to ignore the problem, expecting it to go away. But the problem continues to build up in the background, until we are finally forced to deal with it. Such a mindset is termed as problem-oriented mindset.

On the other hand, there is this solution-oriented mindset, where we think about the potential solutions to the problem, without lamenting on the situation. With such a mindset, we don't get overwhelmed by the size of the problem but find ways to break the problem into smaller parts, solve them individually, and finally connect the dots. Such a mindset makes us feel empowered, and we feel motivated in solving the problems.

Here are a few ways using which we can develop a solution-oriented mindset.

Don't ignore the problem. People with problem-oriented mindset tend to ignore the problem. They procrastinate, thinking the problem would go away by itself at some point. With such a mindset, people don't even try to come up with a solution, neither wants to be involved in developing a solution.

On the contrary, a solution-oriented mindset accepts the existence of the problem, and instead of trying to make the problem go away on its own, takes action towards solving the problem. They take the responsibility of solving the problem, without worrying too much about its origin.

Understand the actual problem. A problem-oriented mindset tends to react to what they think the problem is. Such people don’t try to get into the details of the problem, don't ask questions, and thus at times fail to understand the actual problem. As soon as a problem is presented to them, their mind starts to think about the obvious solutions. This behavior arises because their motivation tends to be of getting rid of the problem, and not really solving for it.

On the other hand, a solution-oriented person would not think about the solution right away. Instead they would give their full attention in understanding the problem first, asking necessary questions, before diving into problem solving. They tend to understand the outcome first.

As an example, in software world, suppose you have an end user using your application. Typically, there are multiple components involved in making the application work. When a user complains about a problem, a developer with a problem-oriented mindset would try to relate the problem to the faulty component, which might take some time to fix depending on the system's complexity. A solution-oriented mindset on the other hand would understand the problem from user's standpoint, because that's where the actual problem lies. That would help them in coming up with a solution that could fix the problem for the user, without necessarily fixing or finding the root cause as a first step.

Don't get overwhelmed by the complexity of the problem. A person with problem-oriented mindset could get lost into the details and complexity of the problem, getting overwhelmed with it. They worry too much about how hard a problem is, or how long it could take to solve it. They try to think of ways to work around the problem, without taking even the first step in trying to solve for it. Also, in worrying too much about the size of the problem, we forget to hear and understand the problem clearly, and get lost in these thoughts.

A solution-oriented mindset treats simple and complex problems alike. If they come across a complex problem, they tend to break it into smaller problems, and solve for them individually. They prioritize the smaller problems, and finally connect the dots. They believe that someone somewhere is already solving this problem, so why can't they solve it.

Don't feel pressurized due to time constraint. A problem-oriented mindset tends to feel pressurized with time they have to solve the problem. A lot of times, they even give up without even trying, thinking they would not make it anyways.

A solution-oriented mindset, on the other hand, uses time constraints to their advantage. With a time-bound problem, they know how much time should be spent in analysis and brain-storming, before finalizing the approach. It also helps in prioritizing the different steps involved and helps them take a methodical approach towards solving the problem.

Look for all possible approaches. A problem-oriented mindset approaches a problem in trying to get rid of the problem quickly. A lot of times, they would go ahead with the first approach they could think of, rather than thinking of the best solution possible.

A solution-oriented mindset looks for all possible approaches. They believe that the final solution might not be the direct solution to the problem to begin with. This is because, the more we get into the details of the problem, the more we understand about the existence of the problem. This enables them to look at the broader picture and analyze all possible solutions.

Envision the solved state of the problem. A solution-oriented mindset envisions the solved state of the problem. This helps them to work backwards from the solution state and come up with potential solutions.

Make use of drawings. This is a very prevalent methodology in software world, that solution-oriented people adapt to, while solving for a problem. The idea is to draw all entities involved in the problem, connect them based on their relation to one another to better understand the problem. Drawings like this enables them to easily visualize potential solutions and compare them to one another.

Think of problems not as roadblocks, but as opportunities to learn and grow. Develop a thought process where even though you can't solve the problem, do whatever you can do best in the given situation. It's always better than not trying at all.

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Published July 05, 2020 by with 0 comment

The Fear of Failure

Speaking about failures, we all think about the instances where we failed to achieve something. Instances where we tried but couldn't get the success. While trying something out, we tend to think either we will succeed, or we will fail.

But what we don't realize, people whom we see as successful, failed multiple times before making it through. And, they failed even more times than the ones who are unsuccessful. So, why do we think of failure as the opposite of success? This is not because of failure itself, but our fear of failure.

The difference between people who are successful versus those who just make it by, is their perception of failure. Successful people believe that failure is just one of the stepping stone to achieve success. They understand that they will come across a lot of failures, and it's simply the part of the process. They take learnings from these failures, and start trying again. The point at which people stop trying after seeing few failures, is when it becomes a roadblock to success.

Every now and then, we hear about success stories of people around us. People who made it big, be it in the field of science, sports or politics. We get to hear about what they achieved and how talented they are. We are mostly aware of their days of glory, and not so much of the time before they were "called" successful. We talk about the attempt that made them successful, but don't care about how many times they failed before. What we fail to realize it's their persistent efforts, and the "not giving up" attitude, that got them here.

When people say they are afraid that they won't succeed, it's not the fear of failure, but the fear of being judged by others. The fear of rejection, loss of dignity, or simply being perceived as not being good enough. Such people tend to say it before even trying, in order to lower the expectations. And with such fear in mind, they fail to even take the first step.

Why does this happen? This happens because of what we perceive as being successful. Success today is getting the recognition from others. Meeting the standards set by our society. This is seen from the time we start learning, when in exams we need to get a minimum passing mark, or we will be called a failure. And, even if the person manages to pass the exam in the next attempt, they are still forever tagged with this failure.

To overcome the fear of failure, we need to change how we perceive success. Success shouldn't be treated as a destination but perceived as a journey. Passing an exam is good but learning from mistakes and being persistent is also worth celebrating. When people let their failure get better of them is when they truly fail themselves.

Also, the idea is not to keep failing blindly until you reach your goal. But, take learnings from those failures, and understand why you failed in first place. It could be due to lack of experience or you didn't try hard enough. In the end, there is always a take away from the failures we face, which we should use to improve our next attempt.

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