5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

  • The reality of life is such that we're never out of problems to solve. Life itself is nothing but a continuous succession of problems or challenges that make us better versions of ourselves.


    Looking at this fact, we can infer that improving our problem-solving skills is tantamount to improving our skill at life. It also means improved brain power because the two always go hand in hand.


    What's more is that problem-solving is one of the most important soft skills that employers look out for in a prospective employee and research has shown that the demand will only increase with time.


    So here are 5 simple ways you can improve on this super important skill:


    1. Play complex puzzle games


    Playing puzzle games like Sudoku, chess, crossword and Rubik's cube can help give your brain a nice workout, help you think differently and improve your ability to see things from different perspectives. 


    A study by Nanyang Technological University shows that “complex puzzle games" in particular, can improve executive function of the brain more than any type of game.


    It's not hard to see how this can help improve your problem-solving skills over time.


    2. Dance away


    Different forms of dance have been shown to improve different forms of problem-solving through the development of new neural pathways in the brain.


    When people engage in improvised kinds of dance, it helps them with divergent thinking whereby they're able to come up with multiple answers to a problem. When they engage in very structured dance, however, it helps with convergent thinking, i.e coming up with a single solution to a problem.


    3. Keep track of your epiphanies


    Many times, our subconscious mind hand us the solutions to nagging problems on a platter, in form of epiphanies. A study by Scientific American has shown that these solutions are much more effective and accurate than the ones we come up with through deliberate analysis.


    The problem, however, is that epiphanies can go up in a puff of smoke as easily as they come, which is why it is important to keep track of them by always writing them. You can go back to them from time to time for inspiration.


    4. Have consistent good sleep


    When you have a nagging problem that refuses go away, you're advised to sleep on it.


    This is because there are so many times when after a good night sleep, we wake up and there's the answer we've been looking for, right there in our head as clear as day.


    This is because, during REM sleep, which is one of the stages of sleep, our brains make new and useful connections between unrelated ideas.


    5. Learn to think in opposites


    Sometimes you can find the solution to a problem by looking at it from an opposite point of view. It works by helping you break away from the cognitive rut that can arise from being fixated on finding one solution to your problem. 


    You now can see and consider new perspectives that were not otherwise available to you.


    Example of ways you can think in opposites


    a. You're trying to figure out how to make money, think of all the different ways to spend it.


    b. You're trying to figure out how to make your child behave, consider all the ways you can make him/her misbehave.


    c. You want to make your life easier, think of how you can make it harder.


    See? It's easy and it works.


    Following these simple tips will help improve your problem-solving skills and thus make your life a lot easier.


  • Jamila Mustapha
    Jamila Mustapha That's a good way to go about it Samantha, thanks for taking the time to comment.
    December 24, 2017
  • Jamila Mustapha
    Jamila Mustapha Hi Michael, I'm glad you like the post. Sure, when you have a good reason to dance, it takes away the pressure of having to dance well. Have fun dancing and trying out the rest of the tips!
    December 24, 2017
  • Philberta Leo
    Philberta Leo Having a good sleep is one way I find solutions to some life problems bothering me. Also, playing puzzles and brain teasers/games is a great way to improve your brain performance. It teaches you how to see things from different angles and also allows you...  more
  • Kathy James
    Kathy James Lucky for me, I love doing Sudoku so, after years of doing a few daily, my problem solving skills should be very good. Any improvement in your problem solving skills really helps you when it comes to not only your working life, but every day life...  more
    Apr 29

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