What would you say if I told you that you could solve any problems in just three steps? That’s the philosophy of Ken Wantanabe, author of the Solving 101: A Simple Book For Smart People. So, here’s Wantanabe’s three-step approach to solving any problem, courtesy of the Bottom Line Personal.
- First: Identify your problem and what’s causing it. People tend to think about issues in such vague and looming terms that they get overwhelmed. Let’s say you feel stressed and unhappy because you never have enough money each month. Wantanabe says the stress and unhappiness are symptoms – the real problem has to do with your finances, so pinpoint the specifics. Are you not making enough? Are you eating out too often and draining your wallet? Once you know the cause, you can move forward.
- Next step: Come up with multiple solutions. List as many as you can, no matter how improbable. According to Wantanabe, this often leads you to creative and unexpected solutions. Even if you think a particular answer may be the right one, get into the habit of challenging it. Ask yourself, “What could go wrong here? Is there a better way?”
- The final step in solving any problem: Set your plan in motion. After you pick the best solution, you need to follow through. No excuses. This is often the hardest part for people - we’re natural procrastinators. You have to take action if you want to make things better. Be prepared to modify your plan until the problem is resolved. So, if you start eating out two fewer nights per week, and you still come up short on money at the end of the month, you may need to give up your daily latte run, too. It’s all about finding the right solution – or combination of solutions - and sticking to them.