Are you a problem solver or a solution creator? Maybe you think you’re neither? Maybe you think you’re a problem creator? The answer is, you are definitely one of the first two. I believe it is impossible in todays world to be neither. No matter what you do you inevitably have the choice to change outcomes and to do things better. The last one you are not either. Every action has a motivation so you are trying to achieve something by it. I don’t believe anyone creates problems purely for the sake of creating problems. So, let’s find out whether you are a problem solver or a solution creator and what the differences are.
At first glance the two sound very similar don’t they? In actual fact there are subtle yet important differences.
Let’s first define what exactly a problem is. The definition of the word problem is something we normally take for granted, that we don’t really think about. A common definition is that a problem is something that gets in the way of us achieving the desired outcome or goal in the ideal fashion. You could also look at it as a difficulty that needs to be resolved.
The conundrum here is that we are describing it using terms that are relative.
- How much of a difficulty does something have to be until it is classified as a problem?
- How far from the desired outcome or goal do we have to be before it is considered not ideal?
For a problem solver it is generally the second of these that are important. They have a desired outcome or goal in mind and that is what they head for.
For a solution creator is is generally the first of these that are important. They know that we are currently in a state of difficulty and have a desire to change this.
Both of these center around the idea of a point. The problem solver is heading towards a point while the solution creator is heading away from a point. This is important as that point is fairly fixed. This will affect your ability to be creative and how far you can take it. If you are heading for a point then you are limited. You must, in general, be heading towards it and once you get there you can’t go any further (unless you redefine the location of the point and start again). If you are heading away from a point then you can go in any direction and there is no limit to how far you can go.
A solution creator has a mindset that leads to far better outcomes.
Let’s look at adjusting those relative terms.
A problem solver can vary how close to the goal they want to be until they can say they have arrived. Unfortunately this has the effect of defining how sloppy you can be with your solution and doesn’t allow you to go any further once you’ve reached the point.
A solution creator can vary how difficult a situation has to be before it is something that requires attention. This is awesome as they can adjust it up to focus on priorities or keep adjusting it down until nearly everything is seen as a problem. Adjusting it down might seem like a silly thing to do. Why would you want to go to the level that nearly everything is seen as s difficulty? Because if you do that then everything is an opportunity to improve and this really releases the brakes.
eg. Say you take a certain route to work every day. You are happy with it so there is no problem. As a result you don’t see a need to seek a better alternative. What if there were better alternatives out there though? Would you want to know what they were? Or would you think, I know there are better alternatives out there but I am happy with this one so I’ll stick with it?
A solution creator sees the potential to improve everywhere and is excited by the idea of exploring.
In essence a problem solver tends to have a narrow mind and a fixed outcome. A solution creator thinks not even the sky is the limit in terms of where you can go and how far you can go.
So, what type of person are you?