Sometimes even the simplest problem can become a major hurdle. For example, this can happen when you had a bad day. Even so , the difficulty in solving a problem mostly comes from your own attitude towards the problem.
It is smart to apply solutions to a problem if they have worked in the past. But if you already know that a strategy won’t work for a particular problem and you still persevere with it, then that’s a very negative attitude. It keeps you from solving the problem. So it is smarter to use this strategy as a first option and then look for others if necessary.
How does your mental attitude affect your ability to solve problems?
A good attitude will save you a ton of time when it comes to solving problems. The first step towards this constructive approach involves active coping skills rather than running away or trying to ignore the problem. At certain stages of a problem, it is best to wait and see. This is the case when the next step doesn’t depend on you and therefore it doesn’t make sense to force anything. But there are usually not so many steps that simply require waiting.
The second step in terms of having a good attitude is making a decision to be proactive, take responsibility, and come up with a solution when trying to get rid of a problem. Alternatively, you can be patient and change your mindset so that the problem affects you as little as possible.
The third step is to draw up a plan of action. A plan that will free up as much resources as possible to address the specific phases of the plan. This will free you from the stress associated with doing everything at once. As if you were trying to eat an apple by shoving it all the way into your mouth.
Your mental attitude can be useful
Your mentality, which leads you to repeat successful strategies in the past, can be very useful. By using strategies that have worked before, you can often arrive at the correct solution quickly. This can save time, but it can also lead to more problems on the other hand.
In your everyday life, your mental attitude can make a relatively simple solution very complicated. But the opposite can also be true: Making an important decision can become very complicated even if you cannot open your mind to new perspectives.
In general, mental attitudes can prevent important things from being discovered. This happens when there is a lack of adaptability in focusing on the problem. Thus, the wrong decisions can be made because alternative approaches are not valued.
Functional fixation is a type of mental attitude in which one only sees the solution that involves the normal or expected use of an object. It’s a type of cognitive bias that can limit your capacity to think about new solutions.
Functional fixation often prevents you from thinking about alternative solutions to a problem. Alternative solutions in which different objects are used for different purposes. This is not a bad thing in itself, but it can also be limiting. Ultimately, it closes the door on so many opportunities that could help you do things more easily, or even resolve situations that are not as complicated as they seem.
An example of functional fixation is the famous candle problem designed by psychologist Karl Duncker nearly 70 years ago. The experiment consisted of giving the person various items – a box full of thumbtacks, a couple of matches, and a candle – and instructions that the candle should be placed on a wall in such a way that the wax would not drip off. The time it took the subject to solve the problem was then measured.
Duncker found that the results changed when exactly the same items, but arranged differently, were presented. In one case the tacks were in the box, in the other they weren’t. In general, in the second case, when the box was empty, it took people less time to resolve the problem.
This is because in the first case it was assumed that the function of the box was to hold the thumbtacks. So it was not seen as part of the solution because it already had a function. In the second case, when they received a box of tacks without tacks, the box appeared to be something that could be given a function.