Before we address how to become a solution-oriented person, it’s important to understand what that is and how it differs from one who is problem-oriented.
I’ll bet you think you’re solution-oriented. But common sense would suggest that may not be true as we all know, personally, a lot of people who focus on potential problems.
Meaning, they see the challenges first when it comes to most situations. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, right? Many individuals would agree that’s the definition of a realist.
Problem-focused thinkers tend to ask “WHY?” when they have to do something.
Now, I think we all do that to some extent, but the difference is… problem-oriented thinking relies on repeating the same negative behavior.
This is something I’m witness to constantly in my direct messages. I sometimes wonder if the sender knows they will forever and ever (and ever!) be stuck in the same situation – because their mindset is the worst. Trust me, it’s so tempting to reply with, “Sister, do you even realize how negative you are?” I don’t, but I’d love to. I’m certain they don’t even realize it.
There are people who come into your life and, after you get to know them better, you wonder, “Is this person just going through a tough time or is this who they are? Do they always complain and see the negative?”
That can be really frustrating if you’re a solution-based thinker! You’re like, “Yeah, okay. That’s all reality. It’s not to be ignored, for sure. But, what’s the solution? What options do you have?”
And if you’re a solution-based thinking type person, you tend to attract problem-based thinkers. Irony of ironies!
Picture this: There’s an upcoming event you really don’t want to be apart of. Let’s just say it’s going out to dinner with a couple and you can’t stand one of them. We’ve all been there, huh? Anyway, if you keep thinking about how much you dislike the wife, it’s simply going to take over your energy. See, not only are you affecting your significant other negatively (by complaining about this dreaded double date), but you’re also adversely impacting your body language, posture, and thoughts.
So, imagine yourself in that same situation. You tried to get out of the dinner and it isn’t a possibility. What solution-oriented options might you have?
Plan where you’re going to sit and how you’ll handle conversations you don’t care for. Only YOU control your attitude, so force yourself to smile and be on your best behavior. Remember, behavior affects mood. If you drink, enjoy a glass of your fave cocktail before you arrive. Decide on something you and the husband will do after the date (e.g., go to your favorite dessert spot). This way you’ll have something to look forward to.
It all comes down to how you can make it better by looking for possible solutions.
Bottom line: If you want change, you have to do things differently. It means you’ve got to take action. And taking action sometimes is uncomfortable. And I find in any situation — whether we’re talking a double date, business, shopping, diet, whatever — people either really want a solution or they don’t.
Those who truly are solution-oriented, even when presented with major obstacles, will move forward with a WIT attitude – as I like to call it.
WIT stands for Whatever It Takes. If you have a whatever it takes attitude, you are a positive solution-based thinker. You’re not going to give up. Whatever it takes, you want to make it work.
You must know your why. Your why is strong enough that you don’t focus on the problems and allow them to get you stuck. As opposed to focusing on the obstacle and reiterating it, texting about it, and complaining about it… STOP.
Start thinking about why you want a different outcome. And what solutions will make that a reality.
I never hear from my team. They’re so forward thinking, outside the box, and always find a work-around. Hence, they’re solution-based thinkers. Oh my gosh, it’s so freakin’ valuable!
And that’s why I want you to develop this habit because if you’re solution-oriented, you don’t go to your boss with a problem until you’ve come up with 10 possible solutions and you’ve written them out yourself. This makes you 10 times more valuable as an employee. Not to mention, 10 times more valuable as a friend.
Stop focusing on the problem, people. All it does is make the problem bigger while, simultaneously, making you feel less motivated to make that change.
For much more insight on this subject, with real-life personal anecdotes – including examples from problem-focused people who message me in social media – you must check out my podcast, Solution Based Thinking, on the Chalene Show NOW!