- Is the problem really that big? Would others think so?
- If you could solve this problem, would your life improve?
- Is there any part of the problem over which you have control?
Young men learn that ” I can’t change everything, so it’s best to focus on issues I can realistically change and that will make a real difference in my level of stress.” In other words: Choose your battles.
They are encouraged to brainstorm ideas: “Now that you have a well-defined problem, it’s time to think about solutions. Think of all the ways in which you might solve your problem. The sky’s the limit. Now isn’t the time to judge whether one solution is better than another.”
We share these proven effective steps to problem solving:
- Recall past problems that you were able to solve. Could a similar solution work for this problem, too?
- Ask friends, family and people you trust for advice.
- If you’re still having trouble, perhaps your problem is too complicated. In that case, try to divide and conquer.
- Break the problem into smaller parts you can more easily tackle.
5. Remember, consider everything that pops into your head — even ideas that initially seem silly. Your stress-reduction plan may include a little silliness. for example Maybe taking a salsa dancing class after work a few days a week will help you to unwind better than would quiet meditation.
6. Select a solution-Of all your creative ideas — silly or serious — which has the most potential? You might want to consider:
- Do you realistically think it will solve the problem?
- How will using this solution make you feel in the end? How will it make others feel?
- What are the possible positive and negative consequences?
7. When you’ve chosen what looks like the best solution, take another couple of minutes to think it through. Even the best solution may require fine-tuning. You might ponder:
- Do you have the resources and, more important, the will to carry out your plan?
- What new problems, if any, might the solution create?
- What might go wrong? Can you correct this part of the plan?
8. Don’t be discouraged if your plan isn’t perfect. A good long-term solution may temporarily generate new problems. That doesn’t mean you should give up the plan, just that you need to be prepared for the new problems with a new set of solutions. When the young men learn to master these problem solving steps they then have the skills needed to face life’s challenges in a creative and healthy way. This skill boosts their confidence and self esteem in a very real and powerful way.