How You Can Become a Better Problem-Solver

5 Ideas That Will Help You Develop This Critical Skill to Progress Faster

Neel Raman
7 min readFeb 21, 2023

Do you wish you could become a better problem-solver? Are you constantly figuring out how to find solutions to challenging situations?

Most people struggle with solving problems because they lack the skills needed to do so. They aren’t even aware they lack problem-solving skills until someone points it out to them.

Being stuck with a problem is frustrating, stressful, and can cause you to feel helpless. You can learn to become a better problem-solver when you know how to identify problems and know what steps to take to solve them.

Once you learn how to become a better problem-solver, you won’t have to struggle with problems. Instead, you’ll know how to take advantage of problems.

1-Minute Summary Video

What is a Problem-Solver?

A problem-solver is someone who knows how to overcome difficult circumstances or complex challenges and can find a way out of any situation.

They find ways to make things better. A problem-solver is someone whose mind is open to possibilities and ready to accept ideas. They use critical thinking to find answers and solutions to problems.

Problem-solvers always look for creative ways to solve problems. They’re not afraid to ask questions, explore options, and use creative thinking to find innovative solutions.

Problem-solving is a key skill that anyone can learn. Anyone can become a master problem-solver. When you develop these characteristics, you will become a better problem-solver.

become a better problem-solver

Why You Need to Become a Better Problem-Solver?

You will always have problems in your personal life. The better you become at solving problems, the better life you can create.

Here are several reasons to become a better problem-solver.

1. Overcome challenges faster

As you develop problem-solving skills, you’ll be able to overcome your biggest challenges and move past situations faster than before. When you clearly understand a problem, you can find effective solutions faster.

2. Learn from your mistakes

Sometimes, problems arise because you made mistakes. When you use problem-solving methods, you can identify what went wrong and prevent similar issues in the future.

3. Be more resilient

Problems happen in everyday life. As you develop problem-solving skills, you will handle difficult issues better. This means you won’t let problems overwhelm you.

4. Get unstuck

If you’re struggling with a problem, you may feel you’re stuck. However, as you develop problem-solving skills, you’ll be better equipped to deal with problems and get unstuck.

5. Create opportunities

When you have a good understanding of how to solve problems, you can create opportunities that can lead to better outcomes.

6. Make decisions easier

When you have a solid understanding of how to solve a problem and how to approach it, you will make better decisions.

7. Reduce stress in your life

Problems cause stress. Once you understand how to solve problems, your stress levels will decrease.

Problem-solving is an innate ability you possess, which you can further develop as you deal with issues in your daily life.

The Qualities Problem-Solver Have

The qualities of a problem-solver include:

  • Creative — they can come up with crazy ideas and think outside the box.
  • Flexible — they can adapt to changing conditions.
  • Persistent — they don’t give up easily.
  • Optimistic — they believe that if something isn’t working, there’s another solution.
  • Curious — they want to know more about the world around them.
  • Open-minded — they will try different approaches to see which one works best.
  • Determined — they keep going until they get what they need or want.

5 Ways You Can Become a Better Problem-Solver

Here are five ideas that will help you solve problems easier, which means you can progress faster towards your goals.

1. Identify the type of problem you face

To become an excellent problem-solver, you must first recognize the kind of problem it is.

There are usually two types of problems:

  • External problems — These occur when something goes wrong. For example, you lose your keys or your car breaks down.
  • Internal problems — These occur within yourself. For example, you worry too much or you procrastinate.

Most times, an internal problem is within your control, which means it’s your responsibility to do something about it.

An external problem usually requires action on your part. Sometimes, a situation is beyond your control.

Therefore, you can ask yourself if it’s even a problem if there isn’t anything you can do about it.

2. Determine why you think it is a problem

You need to understand why you think something is a problem. Know what your criteria is for labelling something a problem.

If it’s something beyond your control, assess whether you are giving more thought to the situation than you need to. If you determine you’re overthinking it, then it probably isn’t a problem.

If you believe it’s a problem, also determine when you need to solve it.

3. Identify the root cause of the problem

You cannot solve a problem unless you know what caused it. Otherwise, you may come up with solutions that will not solve it.

If it’s an external cause or something you did not influence, then identify factors that could have contributed to it.

If it’s an internal cause, determine if it’s a pattern that repeats and find out why it keeps happening.

4. Ideate four types of solutions

When looking for solutions, it’s helpful to follow an ideation process, which means to come up with many potential solutions.

Questions you can ask include:

  • What is the easiest solution?
  • What is the best solution?
  • What is a temporary solution?
  • What is a long-term solution?

Before you get to an ideal solution, the problem-solving process will require you to evaluate as many alternative solutions as you can.

It’s a valuable practice to come up with at least three potential solutions to each question. As you identify solutions, you will get more creative ideas, which will eventually lead to an obvious solution.

5. Implement a solution to prevent the problem arising again

To become a better problem-solver, you need to learn to put measures in place so problems do not resurface.

You can start by asking yourself, “How do I prevent this problem from happening again?”

The key is to implement creative solutions that prevent a problem from recurring. You should be prepared to change your solution if circumstances change.

This way, you can adapt your solution to changing situations.

Final Thoughts

If you have trouble solving problems, you can become a better problem-solver by asking different questions.

When you do, you’ll gain insight into why certain solutions work and others fail.

This will allow you to create new strategies and approaches that will lead to positive results.

Action Step: Choose a problem you’re currently dealing with. Ask yourself these questions to find a solution that will work for you:

  1. Is this even a problem I need to solve?
  2. Why is it a problem?
  3. What do I have this problem? What has caused this problem?
  4. What is the most obvious or easiest solution?
  5. What is the best solution I can think of?
  6. What is a temporary solution that can move me into action?
  7. What is a long-term solution?
  8. How can I prevent this problem from occurring again?
  9. What difference will it make when I solve this problem?
  10. When will I take the first action step?

Question: What other steps could you take to become a better problem-solver?

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Neel Raman

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