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How You Deal With A Problem Largely Reflects Who You Are

How You Deal With A Problem Largely Reflects Who You Are

In life, problems occur every day. Some problems are easy to solve, such as a simple math problem while others are big, such as a failing relationship. The ability to effectively solve problems leads to success in life and in business. Problem solving affects who we are and how others perceive us in our daily lives.

How you deal with problems largely reflects who you are, what you’ve learned in life, and it also reveals insights about your true personality. Below you’ll find common ways that people deal with problems and what these behaviors reveal about your true personality.

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If you blame others for problems, it reveals that you’re a manipulator

Those who blame others for problems are simply shifting responsibility of a problem to a target and effectively wiping their hands of it. If you’ve ever been the target of blame at home or the workplace, you understand that it’s uncomfortable and not an effective problem-solving technique. Thus, finger pointing negatively affects personal and professional relationships. Blame-shifting is a common personality trait of those who are manipulators. If you find that you’re never a source of a problem and you shift the blame and problem solving to others, it might be time to look at your situation and problems with more objectiveness.

If you assume responsibility for problems, it reveals you’re a leader that takes charge

When you assume responsibility for a problem, you’re admitting that you might be involved in the creation of the issue. Or, you’re a leader for a group that created a problem, and you understand that you must take the lead to help resolve it. This is a mature approach to problem solving, and is one of the first steps in making the right moves to getting the issue resolved. If you’re someone who takes responsibility for issues and tackles them head on, congratulations. You’ve learned that problems occur every day, and you know how to define problems and build a plan to ensure they’re solved. You’ve reached a higher level of leadership that many aspire to possess.

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If you deny that a problem exists, it reveals that you oppose the solution

If you deny that a problem exists, it reveals that you simply want to avoid the steps that are necessary to solve the problem and this might be due to strong political, religious or other beliefs and core values. As an example, perhaps your spouse has been unfaithful, but you deny the problem exists because you strongly oppose the solution of divorce because of your past experience with a breakup of your family or religious beliefs. It’s an admirable trait to have strong beliefs; however, you must look at situations objectively in order to devise an appropriate plan. In this example, you might continue to deny that the indiscretions exist and become blocked from finding an appropriate solution that matches your beliefs, such as marriage counseling.

A study by Duke University confirms that denial occurs when we’re not satisfied with the prospective solutions to problems. In the study, researchers studied three serious problem areas — climate change, crime and air pollution. They examined why some republicans denied the existence of climate change. The researchers found that the republicans who denied climate change were adverse to the proposed solution, which was increased government regulation. Hence, we can conclude that those with strong beliefs that lead them to oppose a solution, might deny that the problems exists altogether.

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If you ignore problems, it reveals that you are overly busy or emotionally sensitive

Ignoring problems could signal that you’re highly sensitive and controlling negative emotions might be difficult for you. Perhaps in the past, you were criticized by the way you solved a problem. As a result, you harbor fear of rejection, failure and criticism. Fear and other negative emotions can block you from moving forward and finding logical solutions to problems.

If you find solutions for problems, it reveals that you think logically, objectively and creatively

When you think objectively, you solve problems based on facts and logic. Your personal biases and emotions are removed from the picture. You can emotionally detach yourself from the situation and look at the problem from a different perspective. However, objectiveness is not the only personality trait that makes us successful at problem solving. Creativity also plays a part. One of the most famous stories of a creative solution to a complex problem is the legend of Alexander the Great untying the Gordian Knot. In this story, Alexander the Great was challenged with untying an impossible knot that was tied by King Gordias. Alexander sliced through the knot with his sword. Hence, to this day “cutting the Gordian knot” represents logical, out-of-the-box and creative problem solving.

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Those who combine logic with objectivity, creativity and imagination have truly discovered and successfully utilized the art and science of problem solving. They use both sides of their brains and are experts at untying the Gordian knot.

How do you become a better problem solver?

As mentioned, we solve problems every day. They can be routine or they can be whoppers. If you’re ready to move past the easy solution of ignorance, denial or blame-shifting and you want to take responsibility to solve problems, check out this helpful article about problem solving on Lifehack.org.

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Marilyn Rogers

Marketing Consultant | Content Strategist | Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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