‘Problem solving’ sounds like so much hard work that I’ve been thinking that it might be more helpful to rename it. I could call it ‘solution finding’ but that still sounds a bit like hard work. How about ‘solution allowing’ – not very catchy I grant you but don’t you tend to find that you can really get stuck into trying to solve a problem by thinking about it constantly and still be scratching your head at the end of the day?
It seems to me that a solution tends to appear when I’m not struggling to find it. For example, when I’m so tired of thinking about the problem that I just give up and go to bed, then in the shower the next morning the answer jumps into my mind. Or maybe I get distracted by something unexpected – like being stopped in my tracks by the sight of a beautiful sunset (or the cat being sick on the carpet!) – and in that moment, the struggle to solve the problem is released and fairly soon after the solution just occurs to me.
And the great thing about those solutions which just appear ‘out of nowhere’ is that they are always pretty perfect (and occasionally pretty obvious!).
The mind is the most magnificent ‘solution finder’, give it a problem and it will always find a perfect answer. The interesting thing I’ve noticed about it though, is that how I am feeling decides whether I can access the answer or not – when I am caught up in the effort of searching for the answer, I am tense, frustrated and anxious thoughts cloud up my mind and all I have is a problem. But when I give up the struggle, when I decide to trust in the innate wisdom and creativity of Life – then somehow my mind tends to quieten down and the answer presents itself.
So how is ‘solution allowing’ working out for me? When I realise that I am caught up in the struggle of ‘over-thinking’ a situation and that there is a great solution waiting in the wings – well, I find it’s a huge relief and the tension of having to solve the problem lifts. Of course, it’s not 100% effective yet – sometimes it still takes me a while to realise that I’m caught up in the ‘over-thinking’ part!