(3 mins read)


It would be nice to live in a world where there are no problems at all. The sun shines all day long, there is fun and happiness everywhere, there is no stress, and people enjoy an easy life every day. It would be heaven on earth.

However, the key issue is that in real life, we all encounter problems, big and small, that can be challenging to overcome. Every day, we have to deal with setbacks, issues, challenges, obstacles, difficulties, worries, complications or troubles. The fact is, that there are some people that have a natural tendency to create problems, while others have a knack for solving them.

Problem makers are people who tend to create problems or make existing problems worse. They may do this intentionally or unintentionally, but the end result is the same.  There will be only more and more challenges and issues. Those people are not interested in finding solutions to problems, but rather in making things more difficult for themselves and others. Problem makers tend to focus on what’s wrong rather than what’s right. They often complain, blame others, and resist change.

On the other hand, problem solvers tend to focus on solutions rather than problems. They are focused on finding ways to overcome obstacles and change or improve the situation they are in. They may use critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration to come up with solutions that work for everyone involved. They are not afraid to take action and make changes, even if it means stepping out of their comfort zone or taking difficult decisions.

The question is, which one are you?

Are you a problem maker or a problem solver?

Now, take a piece of paper and check you past behaviours or experience with ten sentences below.

First, let’s go through some signs that you may be a problem maker:

1. You often find yourself in the middle of drama or conflict.
2. You tend to complain or blame others for your problems.
3. You avoid taking responsibility for your actions.
4. You are resistant to change or new ideas.
5. You tend to create more problems than you solve.
On the other hand, here are some signs that you may be a problem solver:

1. You are proactive in identifying and addressing problems.
2. You take responsibility for your actions and their consequences.
3. You are open to new ideas and ways of doing things.
4. You are able to think critically and creatively.
5. You work well with others to find solutions.

If you have more in the second part of this short exercise, this is great. You are in the right place and you need only to continue strengthening your problem solving skills or behaviours. If you’ve identified yourself as a problem maker, don’t worry. It’s never too late to change your mindset and become a problem solver.

Here are some tips to help you shift your perspective and to become a problem solver:

    Instead of concentrating on what’s wrong, look for ways to make things better. Ask yourself, ”What can I do to find a solution in this situation?” or “What options do I have?”
    Instead of blaming others, own up to your mistakes and learn from them. Ask yourself, “What have I done wrong?” or ”What can I do differently next time?”
    Instead of going it alone, ask others for their input and ideas. Ask yourself, “Who can help me in dealing with this issue?” or ”Who can I work with to solve this problem?”
    Instead of reacting impulsively, take a step back and think. Think about your goals and values. Don’t be emotional because emotions will push you immediately to actions which may put you in a situation with more problems. Ask yourself, “What is the problem I am dealing with?” or “Why am I emotional in this situation?”
    Instead of feeling defeated, look for ways to learn and improve. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this experience?” or “How can I turn this challenge into an opportunity?”

Hopefully, it’s clear to you now that being a problem solver is not just a matter of talent or personality, but a choice and a habit. By adopting a positive and proactive mindset, staying curious and open-minded, taking action and experimenting, and collaborating and communicating effectively, you can become a problem solver and make a positive impact in your personal and professional life.

It is a choice that you make every day in the way you approach challenges and obstacles. By choosing to be a problem solver, you can not only improve your own life, but also the lives of those around you.

So, the next time you are faced with a problem, ask yourself: “Am I a problem maker or a problem solver?”

More on the Man vs. Man series:


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