Adapting to Solve – Problem-Solving 101


Adapting to Solve

Problem Solving 101

Growing up, I struggled quite a bit with learning and comprehension. I didn’t adapt to change. I was bullied in school and picked on daily. My friends changed constantly. My grades lacked. I thought of myself as stupid. I told myself I was stupid, daily. Honestly, I really felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. I had no hope. My parents, who I probably owe my life to, stuck with me. They were my rock. I remember sitting with my mom, studying, hours upon hours on end. We came up with different ways of remembering things, figuring out problems, and comprehension. She tells me this was actually one of her fondest memories. Not because of my struggles, but because the memories we created together. I am not here right now to tell you my life story. That may be another blog post. I am here to tell you how to overcome yours. Through my own life experiences, I have become an excellent problem solver. My experiences made me who I am. Now, enter into my mind. Oooo scary. Hey, watch your step.

A problem is defined as:

“Any question or matter involving doubt, uncertainty, or difficulty.”

Problem-solving is defined as:

“The process of working through details of a problem to reach a solution. Problem solving may include mathematical or systematic operations and can be a gauge of an individual’s critical thinking skills.”
Everyone can benefit from having good problem-solving skills. On a daily basis, we encounter problems. Some are simple and some are much more complex. Let’s break this down a little bit.
The key to solving a problem is ensuring that you deal with the real problem, not its symptoms. Take a step back and look at it from a different perspective. One thing that is common with every problem is that there is an unknown element. Every problem can be broken down into two elements; goals and barriers.


Every problem has a goal in mind. There is an objective that must be desired.
A goal is anything you want to achieve. If you are an artist, your goal might be to inspire or to move the viewer. If you are a CEO of a company, your goal might be to increase profit. In most cases, a goal may need to be broken down into smaller sub-goals in order to make it achievable and not so daunting.


What is holding you back from achieving the goal? If there is no barrier, there is no problem. As an artist, a barrier might be the lack of training in a specific area of expertise. So you get some training, thus removing the barrier and solving the problem. In order to reach your goal, you must remove the barriers. There is a systematic way of doing this. After repetition and practice, it becomes second nature.
There is a method that I have adapted over the years, mostly in my own mind. I call it the “Repair Method”. It involves breaking down the barriers, creating a structured focus, thus repairing the path to the goal. Therefore, solving the problem.

Repair Method

  1. Recognize

    First, you need to detect the problem. Define the problem and identify the nature of the problem. Can you define the issue? This is more of a hypothesis stage. Write down some barriers that you think might be in the way of reaching the goal.

    • Detect the problem
    • Define the issue
    • What are the barriers?
  2. Establish a Structure

    Next, you need to observe the problem. Take a 10,000 ft. view of the problem. Develop a structured approach. Take a look at mind mapping. When you map out your problem it is easier to see a clear picture of its structure. Once you have a structure you can analyze the barriers between you and the goal.

    • 10,000 ft. View
    • Mind Mapping
    • Structure
  3. Possible Solutions

    By now you should have a framework for solving the problem based off of the findings from first, recognizing the problem and establishing a structure. This stage is usually a brainstorming session in a team setting.

    • Brainstorming
    • Mind Mapping
  4. Arbitration

    Here you will analyze each possible solution from the previous phase. Weigh each possible solution. This may be time or budget dependant as well. Also, consider if nothing is done at all. This stage might require thinking drastically outside the box.

    • All possible solutions analyzed
    • Selecting the best solution
    • Creative Thinking
  5. Implementation

    Now it is time to put the chosen solution into action. If the problem or solution was identified incorrectly, more problems may arise. This may cause you to step back 1 or 2 phases.

    • Acting on chosen solution
    • Problems will arise if the problem was identified incorrectly.
  6. Result

    This maybe the most important step. No matter if the result was a success or a failure, you must record the outcome. Have an after action review or post mortem. Get feedback from everyone involved. This step is crucial to not creating the same mistakes twice.

    • Record outcome
    • Get Feedback from those affected by the solution.
Problem-solving is probably one of the most difficult things to master, along with decision making. I will be covering that topic soon. Let me know what you think of this method in the comments! Tell me about a time when you had a problem to solve; big or small.