Oct 262010

When you face a challenge or a problem, you can choose to focus on the problem or the solution. Focusing on the problem rarely helps matters. Instead, it only wastes your time and energy as you go over it repeatedly in your mind. Brooding in such a manner leaves you exhausted from fear and worry. It also prevents you from taking decisive action. As it is, the problem is a fact that is unlikely to go away no matter how hard you brood. Since that is the case, it is better to focus on the solution instead. Read on to learn the benefits of focusing on the solution instead of the problem.

Prevents Negative Thoughts

Your mind can only give its full attention to one thing at a time. If you focus on the problem, it is easier to allow negative thoughts to overwhelm you. Fear, doubt and worry may prevent you from taking action to deal with the matter at hand. The more you brood, the larger your problem becomes in your mind. But if you focus on the solution, you actively engage your mind in resolving the matter. Thus preoccupied, you have little time for negativity. The only thing that matters is to resolve the problem. The sooner you do so, the sooner your thoughts can return to normal.

Uses Your Time Efficiently

Time is an important element in dealing with a problem. Since you cannot regain lost time, it is best to use your time wisely. When you focus on the problem, you use up time, but the problem remains. Instead of taking swift action to nip the problem in the bud, you give it time to grow and entrench itself. It is more prudent to use your time to find a solution to the problem. The sooner you begin, the sooner you will find a solution to resolve the matter before it gets out of hand.

Uses Your Energy Constructively

You only have a finite amount of energy to use when you face a problem. The bigger the problem is, the more energy you will expend in dealing with it. There are two ways you can use that energy. You can focus either on the problem or on the solution. When you brood and focus on the problem, you use up great amounts of energy. Yet the problem remains and you have little energy to use in finding a solution. But if you focus on finding a solution, you use your energy in a more constructive manner. Doing so helps you to resolve the challenge you face.

Allows You to Take Charge

Problems do not resolve themselves. It is also unwise to depend on or expect others to solve your problems for you. Since this is the case, the responsibility of finding a solution falls on you. It is also better this way. When you take charge of dealing with a problem, you can choose the best way to resolve it. This means you are likelier to get the outcome you want as you influence events with your actions and choices.

Helps You to Manage Greater Problems

Each time you resolve a problem, you gain valuable experience. The more problems you resolve, the more experience you have. Soon, a problem that used to daunt you in the past will no longer have the ability to do so because you know how to deal with it. From here on, it will take greater problems to test your limits. But greater problems should not daunt you either. After all, you have your experience to guide you in finding solutions to resolve matters.

Taking Action

Learning to focus on the solution and not the problem has changed my life. In the past, I used to let my problems overwhelm me. By doing so, I wasted a lot of time and energy on pointless brooding instead of solving my problems. But when I learned to focus on the solutions instead, I ended up using my time and energy more efficiently and productively. I also found that I could cope better with the challenges I faced.

Are there any other benefits of focusing on the solution that I missed? What are your thoughts on this article? Do share your thoughts and comments below.

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  14 Responses to “Focus on the Solution not the Problem”

  1. Great topic! I totally agree, this is one of the most valuable lessons in personal development community… Our focus determines our action. If we focus on the problems, we will be blocked. If we focus on solutions, we will use our brains in more constructive manner. :)

    I like when you said that we get experience whenever we solve a problem. I like to think that problem is an opportunity for improvement.

    • Hi Marko,

      You are absolutely right. A problem is an opportunity for improvement. It is a pity that not many people see a problem in this manner and miss out on a valuable chance for growth and personal development. How can one hope to grow and stretch themselves without going through hardships? Success that is not built on a solid foundation will not last for long anyway. So yes, when we focus on solutions, we will use our brains in a more constructive and productive manner.

      Thank you for your comment! :D

  2. Good post. I’ve written before on the benefit of focusing on the solution or even, just the positive.

    One of my main points was that by focusing on the positive, what you want, you effectively motivate yourself to take action. By focusing on what you do not want–you discourage yourself.

    Best to think in ways that inspire action and change for the better!

    • Hi Bamboo Forest,

      I agree with you. It is always better to think in ways that encourages us to take massive action to change for the better. By focusing on a goal or purpose that is deal to us, we have ample drive and motivation to look for solutions instead of allowing challenges or obstacles to overwhelm us. The goal is too important for us to lie down and accept failure or defeat. It is only by focusing on the solutions to each problem that happens that we will reach our desired objective.

      Thank you for your wonderful points! :D

  3. i loved this post
    its brilliant!!

  4. I liked the post a lot.

    What you say about only being able to focus on one thing at a time makes really good sense. Even when people are, “multi-tasking” all they are really doing is shifting focus between multiple topics at a fast rate of speed.

    That is why when people multi-task the results are far poorer than if they focus on the goals.

    Since you mind can only effectively do one thing at a time, if you only focus on the problem finding a solution is impossible, and -like you said- if you focus on the solution, the worries of the problem will diminish

    • Hi Steve,

      I agree with you about the poorer quality of results for multi-tasking. Since that is the case for most of us, it makes sense to focus on the solution so that we can resolve the problem sooner before we move on to the next task.

      Thank you for your comments!

  5. Hi The Vizier,

    It’s an interesting way of coming at the situation- to concentrate on the solution first and not on the problem.

    This switch can be quite difficult to make though, as the problem is what is ‘staring us in the face’. The solution, on the other hand, is usually hidden from us at first glance. It can be easier to focus on what we can see rather than searching for what we can’t.

    A good idea is to try not to rule out anything when aiming to solve a problem. By keeping an open mind, it’s possible to offer a solution that might not be obvious at first.

    Another tactic is to ‘reverse engineer’ the solution. That is to imagine the problem is gone and then work backwards to pinpoint what needed to happen to make it disappear. More often than not, it’s a combination of mini-solutions that are successful, rather than any one big solution.

    • Hi Scott,

      You’re right. It may not be easy to focus on the solution since it is not immediately obvious. Even so, if we adopt this mindset and try to figure out ways and means of solving the problem, we will resolve it.

      Having said that, you have raised a few helpful suggestions about how to find solutions. I like your reverse engineering suggestion. Having and open mind and being willing to come up with a combination of mini-solutions is indeed the way to go with problem solving. But this all depends on the challenge at hand.

      Thank you for sharing your insightful comments!

  6. I like the idea of a problem not being a problem, as many people are frozen at the thought, but as a challenge. For most of us, we can take on a challenge with confidence and vigor, but a problem can stop us in our tracks. I also like the focus on the solution, as it is forward thinking. Really enjoyed your post.


    • Hi Mike,

      How we handle any situation depends largely on our view of it. The problem remains the same. It is how we perceive it that changes. Since this is the case, if we could have a more forward thinking mindset as you say, we would be better able to handle the challenges that life will surely have for us.

      Thank you for your comments!

  7. Irving,

    I think this is very important point as many times when we are faced with a problem, we are unable to think anything positive or beyond it. Saving time and energy for the solution is best way to go about, which can be done when we are calm. At least that is way it works for me, I have to slow down and take deep breath before I can think clearly.

    Great points.

    • Hi Preeti,

      I’m glad you found my article useful.

      You’re right. We have to remain calm first before we can objectively direct our time and energy towards a solution to the challenges we face. I like how you slow down and take a deep breath to gain more clarity instead of rushing into things. It helps you to detach and view the situation in a more objective manner.

      Thank you for sharing!

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