A simple trick for becoming a solutionist
This is a successful strategy to navigating any challenge
To demonstrate this, I’d like to invite you to do an exercise with me. You will need a small
piece of paper or cardboard, and a pen. On one side of the piece of paper, write the word
‘problem’, and on the other side, write ‘solution’.
It has been scientifically proven that the human brain – as amazing as it is – can only focus
on one thing at a time. This is why many productivity experts and goal-setting gurus advise
that when it comes to setting goals or getting things done, you focus on only one task at any
given time. The same applies to concepts. If you have a problem and you are constantly
thinking about the problem, how it came about, and how you feel about it, it leaves very
little room for thinking about the solution, how it may come about, and so on.
The idea with the piece of paper you’ve written those two words on, is that you carry it with
you at all times; perhaps in your wallet or purse. Whenever you find yourself in the thick of
a challenge, take it out, look at both sides, and choose which concept you want to focus on
– obviously, the solution! Then, whenever you feel (or “hear”) yourself going back into the
story about the problem, remind yourself where your focus lies.
It’s a simple mind trick, but it works. And the more you use it, the more you train your brain
to think in solutions and not waste any time lamenting the problem. The truth is, most of
our discomfort, negativity, frustration and anger comes from focusing on problems.
Solutions are innately positive. Focusing on the solution rather than the problem gives you
back the control and switches on your brain’s powerful solution-finding mechanism.
Solutionist thinking can help you stay motivated and focused in the right direction, even in
the worst of times. I carry my piece of paper with me, as a reminder of the critical choice I
need to make each day and when in doubt, I look at the ‘solution’ side and the choice is
I hope it helps you as much as it does me!