Problem Solving

Learned optimism

Psychologist Martin Seligman first developed the concept of learned optimism and used it to increase workplace productivity. Pessimistic people somehow face more problems in life. Unlucky people by definition encounter bad luck. Distrustful people somehow get duped. The issue recurrently remains a dilemma: what came before, pessimism or the bad luck, the duping or the lack of trust? Learned optimism theory suggests that people can learn sanguinity by undoing pessimistic thinking by recognizing and disputing negative thoughts and beliefs. If one sees the brighter side, the picture looks brighter without any real change.

Ridding learned helplessness

Problems are commonplace. There’s no one who doesn’t face problems. And truly each one needs problems to frequently test one’s own prowess. Failure to find solutions leads one to attribute negative events to permanent, personal, pervasive factors, while the same drives optimists to nonpersonal, nonpermanent, nonpervasive influences. Optimism assures efficacious rational thinking, which is the key to solving all problems.

Conventional to unconventional

A rigorous analysis of any problem from alternative dimensions helps to look at it in a structured and methodical manner. Prior to the search for solutions, a detailed and logical scrutiny is imperative. Conventional thinking; well quoted as logical reasoning has its advantages as well as limitations. A tangent is usually not welcomed in a regular thought circle. However innovative or Lateral Thinking gives insights into maiden unconventional means, which are capable of generating newer and unusual alternatives, some of which bring in superior outcomes from what was proposed conventionally in the very first place.

Mountains are climbed step at a time

Extraction of maximal information from simple facts helps reach the root of the problem; that’s where the commencement of solution search actually lies. The five why technique is the time-tested path to root cause analysis. Problems are commonplace. Success is merely the prevention of recurrence of a problem. Approach to any problems must be systematic. Identifying the limitations is better understood as RCFA (root cause failure analysis), which assists in future problem prevention.

MINDFRAMES: Reframing problems

The organization of tasks into themes, appreciative enquiry, flow charts directing to the cause from the effect, systems diagrams for inter relationships, risk analysis methods, the SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) the bigger picture (PEST analysis), GROW (Grow, Reality, Obstacle, Way Forward model); all are structured methods that can be applied to understand problems and find appropriate solutions. Success comes to those who really want it; and those who want it enough, always find sufficient methods to dodge the storms to get their boat sailing in unison with the stream. Personal restructuring and cognitive reframing helps one deal with problems with poise.

Characteristics of problems

Every little event in our life seems to be a big problem. The event qualifies as a problem if there is:

  • Absence of transparency
  • Opposing or many goals
  • Complexity in decisions
  • Unpredictable outcomes
  • Testing one’s limitations
  • Challenging weaknesses
  • Straining of one’s resources
  • Time limits for fulfillment
  • Emotional repercussions
  • Impaired relationships
  • Catastrophic outcomes
  • Heterogeneous options

Perceptual distortions

Some events seem like problems to one, they seem trivial occurrences to others. This happens due to:

  • Magnification: enhanced negative
  • Minimization: shrunken positives
  • Selective abstraction: partial truth
  • Mind reading: presuppositions
  • Absolutism: the ‘should’ game
  • Filtering: focusing only on parts
  • Generalization: using little data
  • Arbitrary inference: no evidence


Our workshop targets insight into popular problem solving strategies

  • Brainstorming
  • Hypothesis testing
  • No presumptions only proof
  • Evidence based research
  • Root cause analysis
  • Trial and error strategies