To say problem-free seems like a stretch, and that’s exactly what you will have to do with your mind. Think about being able to roll with the punches and bring out the best outcomes. Imagine having the ability to adapt to change, tolerate uncertainty, take risks willingly, and in turn, be more confident and efficient. This is possible, it is simply a matter of exercising mental flexibility. By practicing to let go of paralyzing fears, judgements, worries, or perceived roadblocks, and by stretching your mind to be more open, understanding, and solution focused, you can train yourself to become a problem-solving pro.
Like practicing yoga itself, chances are you are not able to strike the handstand scorpion pose on your first try. Thinking flexibly takes time and consistent daily practice. If you are already thinking that sounds daunting, ditching that thought right now is your first step to expanding your problem-solving skills. Here are a few other steps to consider.
1. Do not Spend energy on worrying.
It sucks the life and productivity out of you. Do you hear yourself worrying? Stop. If it doesn’t serve you, then toss that thought from your mind and accept that it is out of your control.
2. Try new things.
New things don’t have to be big things. Try something as simple as taking a new route to work, trying a new recipe, or picking up a different hobby. Break out of the daily grind in small ways to increase your openness through new experiences.
3. Challenge yourself to see things from multiple angles.
Whenever a challenge comes your way, flip on your creative switch, and think of multiple ways to approach it. The more angles you consider approaching it from, the more options you will have for solutions.
4. Exercise empathy.
Actively trying to understand where others might be coming from before reacting to the situation that arises is key for avoiding conflicts. Sometimes it may feel like you may want to bite back if you are dealing with someone with an attitude, but taking what they say with a grain of salt and using maturity and patience goes a long way. In the end, the person who focuses on finding the solution isn’t the one that’s left with the problem.
5. Start to take on the things you fear.
This doesn’t mean saying yes to everything, but stop listening to that voice of doubt, and sign up for a tough class or take on that leadership role at work that you have been avoiding. Give yourself the opportunity to surprise yourself with your ability to do something that you questioned you weren’t capable of. Warning: challenging your thoughts can lead to addictive outcomes of wanting to do a hell of a lot more with confidence.
6. Listen to and acknowledge your critics.
Taking the time to hear from others about what they think you can improve on, and taking it lightly, will help you connect to a higher sense of self-esteem. No one is suggesting you have to believe everything others say, but practice filtering through the critiques maturely and gleaning what you feel fits with a kind smile. There are a lot of great things to be said for the person that can take criticism, own what they think they can improve on, and thank the person who provided them with the pointers. After all, nobody is flawless, but those who can work to improve themselves get closest to the idea of perfection.
7. Be curious.
Keep your mind stimulated by exploring, learning, taking time to read, and asking questions. By entertaining your curiosity, you train your mind to think abstractly and will be able to better shape the outcomes of situations.