[The Skills Series ~ #8] Problem Solving Skills
Until some years ago, problems seemed like the end of the world.
With solutions far out of reach.
A search into self help books, expert interviews and 1-on-1 questioning yielded only partial results. It was never fully satisfactory.
And as a friend used to lament, ”Growing up isn’t easy, no one to tell you what to do and how to do it. It’s all left to you to figure out.”
Well, growing up certainly brings with it so many responsibilities.
And problem solving is one of such.
… ”We test you by good and by evil as a trial” [21;35]
Opportunities in Problems
”Wondrous are the affairs of the true believer. For there is good in all his affairs and this is so only for the true believer. When something pleasing happens to him, he is grateful (to Allah) and that is good for him; and when something displeasing happens to him, he exercises patience and perseveres and that is good for him.” [42;25]
Imagine these scenarios
– Mahmud gets into trouble at work for initiating a series of loose talk, mindless chatter & hot gist about his colleagues and manager.
– Maryam is exhausted from her all-day shopping but afraid of even thinking about her bill, she can feel the financial consequences coming her way already.
– Hasan’s wife isn’t picking his calls, he is not sure what it means. It just doesn’t seem too good.
– Habibah knows her exams are coming up, but has not done enough revisions. Her term papers are also incomplete so the academic tension mounts for her with each passing day.
– One of Faisal’s top clients is not happy. He’s threatening to cancel his account with their company and move to a close competitor.
How do you view the above situations – Good or bad?
How about thinking of them as opportunities to exercise patience & effect timely positive changes rather than negative issues meant to cripple affairs.
When the Best Plans Go Wrong
Remember Allah is the best of Planners. No matter how carefully you plan & organise your life; problems will arise.
You can’t run and you can’t hide, but you can sort things out. Good problem solving skills will help simplify some of those problems rather than complicate & prolong issues. This can impact on both personal & professional relationships in a good way.
There are different approaches to problem solving based in Islamic values. But the underling outcome is for a peaceful outcome to be achieved whether it is between you and others; or from inner struggles within yourself. So you can be at peace with yourself, your loved ones and with your Lord.
Some basic steps are 1. Making a conscious effort by deciding to problem solve; 2. Identify issues from the root; 3. Brainstorm solutions; 4. Plan forward steps 5. Take Action
Since problems come in different magnitudes and cannot be envisioned or dealt with using the same approach; the comfort is in knowing that whatever befalls you is part of the test of this affair called life.
Life is its entirety is a test upon test upon test.
”No kind of calamity can occur, except by the Leave of Allah…” [64; 11]
– Be open minded [There is no perfect answer or easy solutions]
– Define the problem & address root cause not manifestations
– Brainstorm on possible ideas for solutions
– Be proactive
– Stay solution oriented
– Focus on present issues, not past or future ones
– Become impatient
– Get distracted with non issues
– Fall into a negative mindset
– Blame others
– Consider problems as negatives
– Lose focus of end goal
Developing the right problem solving skills will help you tackle problems efficiently; and manage resulting stress and anxiety. You can utilise skills such as negotiation & decision making; good judgment and great communication.
Problem solving also requires being objective, timely & being committed to problem solving.
Whether a problem is simple or complex you must try to understand the underlining matters first, then seek the right solutions as you face the obstacles along your path with a positive mindset.
Now think about the scenarios above. Which of the problem solving skills will you utilise?
When problems arise, look at the bigger picture of events & don’t be too consumed with your own feelings.
Reflect and ask questions then make an action plan. Ask Allah (swt) to make your affairs easy; and make you firm on the straight path. Seek His counsel in all decision making situations.
.Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have the strength to bear…..[Q2; 286]
‘O Allah, there is no ease except in that which you have made easy, and you make the difficult, if you wish easy’.
[Ibn Hibban & An – Nawawi]
How often do you use your problem solving skills? Share below.