Problems and decisions are a fact of life. We face them every day, all day. Sometimes the decisions we make are lightweight and harmless. Other times, decisions we make can alter the course of an entire lifetime. A lot of times we act impulsively instead of giving much thought to our decision-making. How scary is that? If you’ve ever felt stuck about what to do or think next, you are not alone. Everyone feels this way. Now, here’s some good news. Smart problem-solving isn’t a matter of luck or good genes. It’s actually a step-by-step process that can be mastered just like any other learned skill. If you wanted to learn to skateboard for example, you would find out how and then you would practice. If you want to know how to tackle tough issues, you can learn and practice that right here at Yourtake.org.
There’s no such thing as a dumb question – here’s why:
Be deliberate – think first
Too often, we jump to conclusions perhaps thinking quick decisions are better than good decisions. Being deliberate doesn’t mean being slow or uninspired. It’s just about taking back the power of decision-making and finding confidence in our ability to handle tough situations.
See the situation clearly – understand what you’re dealing with
Identify the big picture. Too often, we jump to conclusions about a situation before really understanding all the factors. What are the relevant issues? Who is involved and what is their perspective? What do we need to be aware of before taking action?
Get accurate information – and pay attention to it
Often, there’s a lot of information about a situation – if we take the time to find it. The trick is to sort through the available information to find what’s relevant, accurate, and necessary.
Know who to involve and use them well
In a complex world, we need the perspectives of other people in order to effectively solve problems and make tough choices. In situations where there may be a difference of opinion on what to do, we’re tempted to avoid conflict but avoiding conflict rarely resolves it.
Make sure you’re focused on the right things
Legend has it that Plato was asked, “If you had three minutes to work on any problem that would save the world, how would you spend your time?”. He answered, “I’d spend the first two minutes making sure I was working on the right problem.” It doesn’t matter how well we might address one issue, if we’ve missed what’s more important.
Develop an action plan – make sure things get done
An action plan converts good thinking into actionable steps by outlining exactly what needs to happen, identifying who is responsible for making it happen, and by deciding when specific actions should happen.
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Questions help you get necessary information – and involve others
Being an effective questioner is fundamental to being an effective decision-maker and problem-solver. Questions help us stretch our thinking and the thinking of others.
Use a proven approach
Good thinking is a skill. As with any skill, there are steps you can take to improve it. The SCAN process is a proven step-by-step approach to improving the good thinking skills you already have.