“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”- Albert Einstein
When we need to solve a problem, we often start it from wasting our time, money and energy on “going round in circles”. The reason can be simple: our wrong choice between two approaches: solution building and problem solving.
These two approaches can be contradictory when applied together without the deliberate focus on one of them. The analysis of weaknesses and limitations, while breaking down an issue, normally outweighs our actual strengths and capabilities for establishing a solution. The main distraction in our problem-solving pathway is that we naturally tend to focus on the past, and that is very often obstructive and misleading.
It’s obvious that both the problem analysis and the plan for a solution are necessary to be done, but either of them must be prioritised
So, we decide on what’s more important and efficient for us in a given situation : either to explore the evolution of a problem (mainly focusing on the past), or to move forward towards solution, without deeper involvement into the cause of a problem in order to completely focus on a goal achievement.
There are of course the clinical cases which require a deep investigation of a problem and its cause. In treatment of panic attacks, anxiety disorders, depression, phobias and other psychological disorders, the problem-focused approach (which might be combined with pharmacotherapy) seems to be the principal path to healing.
However other occasions – such as long lasting conflicts, relationship issues, underperformance – can be only worsened by a thorough exploration of their origins, as this process is naturally stressful, time consuming and usually destructive.
Focus on solution means overcoming problems without tackling them directly, exploring current resources, capabilities and future hopes, developing a set of clear, concise and realistic goals and finding the courage to move forward to achieving these goals.
For the majority of situations in our private life and at work, it looks reasonable to choose a solution-oriented approach in order to avoid time waste, distraction and procrastination.