“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”- Albert Einstein
It is a rather common tendency that when we need to solve a problem, we start it with wasting our time, money, and energy on “going round in circles”. The reason may be simple: our wrong choice between two approaches – solution building and problem solving.
These two approaches can be contradictory when applied simultaneously without the deliberate focus on one of them. The analysis of weaknesses and limitations, while breaking down an issue, normally outweighs our actual strengths and capabilities for establishing a solution. The main distraction on our problem-solving pathway is that we naturally tend to focus on the past, that is usually obstructive and misleading.
Obviously, both an analysis of problem and a solution plan are needed to be done, but either of them should be a priority.
So we decide on what is more important and efficacious for us in a given situation – either to explore evolution of a problem (mainly focusing on the past) or to move forward towards a solution without deeper involvement into the cause of a problem in order to completely focus on a goal achievement.
However, clinical case may be the exception as it typically requires a deep investigation into a problem and its cause. In treatment of panic attacks, anxiety disorders, depression, phobias, and other psychological disorders, the problem-focused approach (which might be combined with pharmacotherapy) seems to be the principal path to healing.
But other occasions such as long-lasting conflicts, relationship issues, underperformance can be only worsened by a thorough exploration of their origins as this process is naturally stressful, time consuming, and usually destructive.
Focus on solution means overcoming problems without tackling them directly. It means exploring current resources, capabilities, and future hopes, developing a set of clear, concise, and realistic goals and finding the courage to move forward to achieving these goals.
For the majority of situations in our private life and at work, it looks reasonable to choose a solution-oriented approach in order to avoid time waste, distraction, and procrastination.