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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 August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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