Problem Solving 101

There’s a system for proper problem solving. Want to know what it is?

According to the University of Pittsburgh, who has since taken down their link, a group had posted a list of seven steps on how to properly solve a problem. These steps are as follows:

1.    Define and Identify the Problem
2.    Analyze the Problem
3.    Identifying Possible Solutions
4.    Selecting the Best Solutions
5.    Evaluating Solutions
6.    Develop an Action Plan
7.    Implement the Solution

Or in laymens terms.
1. Figure out what your real problem is so you don’t waste your time on proxy problems
2. Figure out what is really causing your problem.
3. Figure out what might work to fix the problem.
4. Select your top 3 potential solutions for further research
5. Figure out which of your potential solutions will actually work the best given science and reality and stuff like that.
6. Create a strategy to implement your best possible solution, taking into account potential problems you may have in implementing it – in case, it turns out that you messed up the previous steps and your solution doesn’t actually work.
7. And finally, fix the problem.

You will notice that this process requires A LOT OF THINKING!  In fact, 6 of the 7 steps are thinking steps. Is all that thinking worth it? YES!  Why? Because all that thinking usually results in the problem actually being solved.

Compare this with how most people problem solve. They guess about what is causing their problem, and then try to fix it by trial and error and fail and then blame others for their problems or conclude the problem is unsolvable and they carry on living with the problem, never considering that their deficient problem solving process might have been holding them back.

Want to know why Humanists spend so much time on learning critical thinking skills?  Read the above. You can’t solve problems well, unless you know how to think critically.

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