Do you know that you will never find the solution to a problem on the same level that the problem exists?  This statement is true whether we are talking about our business life, our personal life or just life in general.  Have you ever noticed when you are in a crowd of angry people with a problem that a viable solution is never found?  They may come up with a plan of action but rarely will that plan of action result in a viable solution to the problem.

Have you ever noticed when you are angry with another person or your group is angry at another group that all you do is focus on blocking the moves of the other person or group? When this happens you become more determined to make sure that the other person or group does not win rather than finding a solution to the problem. The result is a type of tunnel vision that keeps you narrowly focused on the problem rather than allowing you to have the full 360° field of vision necessary to find a solution.

And guess what?  When this happens, the other person or group becomes more determined to make sure that you or your group does not win as well as block all of your moves.  This results in the escalation of a cycle of conflict which often involves strong emotions.  It is often these emotions that act as a roadblock to our finding a proper solution to the problem. It is at this point that we normally start casting blame on the other person or group involved and as we all know problem solving is not about casting blame but more about accepting responsibility.

In addition to applying proper problem-solving techniques, the first step we need to take is to find a serene place or activity which will allow us to contemplate the problem in peace. In order to solve the problem effectively it is necessary that we separate ourselves from the emotions involved.  It is in this state of mind where we will be able to identify the problem as well as accept responsibility for any part that we may have had in the creation of the problem. We will also be able to remove the blinders which caused us to have tunnel vision and cast blame so that we may now see from the full 360° field of possible solutions.

I have often been asked what one has to do in order to find the serene place or the activity discussed in the previous paragraph.  The answer is as varied as the number of individuals that ask it.  For some it is listening to certain music.  For others it is working in the yard and digging with their hands in the earth.  For still others is some type of repetitive activity such as walking, running or riding a stationary bike.  And for yet others it’s nothing more than sitting in their favorite chair and contemplating their navel.

Now here comes the interesting part.  Once we have identified potential solutions to the problem, we are going to have to get agreement from the other parties involved for their implementation.  And that my friend is a subject for another blog entry.  I hope this helps!