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problem-solving

“The best to escape from a problem is to solve it.”

– Alan Saporta

Introduction

 

One thing is for certain in an ever-changing world: There will always be problems to solve. You solve problems every day of your life. Without realizing it, you’ve probably developed quite a few problem-solving skills.

 

For example, say you plan to take the bus to school, but you miss it. You know you’re in trouble. And that’s one problem-solving skill—the ability to identify the problem.

 

Immediately you consider your options. You could walk the five miles to school. You could ride your bicycle or use in-line skates. Your friend might pick you up, you could ask your mom or dad for a ride, or you could skip school. Coming up with lots of possible a solution is another problem-solving skill.

 

Maybe you decide the best solution is to use your mom’s car. But you run into another problem. Your brother has asked for the car first. You strike a deal with him. You agree to help him practice his tennis serve on Saturday. He agrees to let you drive to school this morning. You’ve used another problem-solving skill—negotiation.

 

You dash to the car (you can still make it to school on time), jump in, and turn the key in the ignition. Nothing happens. The car won’t start. You consider the possibilities and form a theory that the problem may be caused by a weak battery. Mom is famous for leaving the inside car light on. Sure enough, you check it out and find the light still turned on. You’ve successfully researched, formed a hypothesis, and confirmed your theory—all problem-solving skills.

 

Now you can fix the problem with another problem solving skill—an action plan. You pull out the jumper cables and jump start the car. In minutes you’re on your way, thanks to problem-solving skills you didn’t even know you possessed.

           

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