So many problems. So little time.
How do you begin to tackle difficult problems? Your own and others?
Remove yourself emotionally. Do not take the problem personally. It isn’t about you. Even if it is your own. It doesn’t define you. Whether you solve the problem or not doesn’t make you more or less of a good person, but it is best that you learn the lesson.
Is it a new problem that has you perplexed? Do a bit of brain mining and reframing. Search your mind for old solutions that you can apply to your new problem. You need to see your new problem in a different light, so it feels less mind-numbing.
Be hyper realistic – make sure you understand what part of the problem is true, not what you wish to be true. Beware of false evidence appearing as real (your fear about the problem).
Tease out what is not necessary. Are you worrying about parts of the problem that don’t have to be solved? This will only make it that much more complex. Get to the core of the problem.
Now that you are at the core issue, state each element of the problem simply. Explain your problem as if you were going to tell it to a five year old.
Write out the questions that you don’t understand about the problem.
Research and understand what other’s have tried to fix the problem. Is there anything you can learn from your mistakes?
Use divergent thinking – expanding what could be possible. Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions.
After you have come up with an acceptable amount of new ideas, use convergent thinking to refining ideas and looking for patterns.
Here a 3 minute explanation from Harvard’s Anne Manning.