Sometimes you get stuck. Your endless routine might make you feel hopeless. You ask yourself: Is this really how it’s going to be every day? Or you might be ruthlessly pursuing a goal, and you’re not getting anywhere. And you can’t see what to do next.

As soon as a problem shows up in your life. As soon as you “get stuck”, you go online looking for advice. You’ve been blessed with devices that serve wisdom on a silver screen. So you rely on them. And whenever the smallest problem comes your way, you will not stop for a minute to think of a solution. Your phone is already in your hand. That is why these types of articles exist.

But the truth is that you already know what to do. And your own solutions are often best suited to solve your problems.

You are wired to figure situations out. Your parents have hopefully taught you one strategy or another to think in the right way, at least for the most trivial problems.

You weren’t able to open the cookie wrapping with your hands? Try a scissor. You want mommy to take you to the cinema? Try telling her that you love her before asking.

All easy problems have easy solutions. Most complicated problems have easy solutions too. That means that most complicated problems could just be easy problems in disguise. And you can solve most problems in the same uncomplicated way.

Here are some ways to do it:

Identify the real problem before trying to find a solution

Whenever there is an issue in your life, you want that issue to go away as quickly as possible. This sometimes leads to being so quick in looking for a solution to a problem, that you might be solving the wrong problem altogether.

Let’s say you are having people over for dinner. It’s a gorgeous summer night. Just 1 hour before they arrive you notice that the newly bought outdoor table set have a massive crack in it, so big that the whole table would probably fall apart if you put anything on it.
You start by having the tantrum of a three-year-old. You scream and you call up the company who sold you the set and you scream at them. You scream even louder when you realize that they won’t be able to meet your (according to you) reasonable expectations of sending a new set before the guests arrive. After hanging up, in panic, you try to fix the table even though you haven’t done any carpentry since that wooden bowl in third grade…..that also had a crack in it.
You’ve tried solving the wrong problem. The problem is not that the set is broken, and needs to be fixed. The problem is that it’s a gorgeous summer night, and the guests now have nowhere to sit to eat. Once you realize this, it becomes clear to you that you could use your amazing lawn to have a stay-at-home-pick nick. The guests are marveled by your carpe diem way of seeing life, and your dinner party is a success.

Whenever a problematic situation occurs, ask yourself: Am trying to solve the right problem?

Sometimes the only thing stopping you is laziness and procrastination

If your house is a mess. It does not help to go online looking for the best ways to clean a house. You know how to clean a house. You’ve done it before. And you have to do it again many times. Using the right home made cleaning sanitizer or Marie Kondoing away stuff by thanking them won’t free you from the fact that it’s boring work.

You know that the only thing standing in the way of a clean house is your own laziness. Just start cleaning.

And as mentioned here, it does not have to be perfect, what’s important is that you do it.

Do the opposite of trying to find a solution

How many of us have not solved the deepest of life’s mysteries in the shower? If someone had to build a problem solving factory, they would probably just put a bunch of showers in a warehouse and have an army of people come in and use them.

What you don’t realize is that even though you think you are taking a break from something, you mind is always working in the background. And it’s most likely working better without you disturbing it every second with meaningless chatter and anxiety. “What about that thing I said to Janice the other day?” “What should I have for lunch? I should be healthy, but maybe I deserve to eat that amazing pasta down the street? Or should I be a good person and cook at home and save money?” If your mind could tell you to shut up, it would do it all the time.

That is why taking a break from things usually leads to a solution just hitting us out of nowhere. Hence the shower miracle. These activities are great to let your mind breathe:

  1. Showers
  2. Going for walks
  3. Meditation
  4. Sleep (we’ve all heard “let me sleep on it“)
  5. Just do something else than working on solving your problem

If you’re lucky the problem might even solve itself while you’re away from it. I can’t count how many times I’ve stalled or procrastinated doing something, just to find that everything worked out on its own in the end.

So don’t worry, have patience, and try these tactics. And you’ll be a master problem solver in no time, without being dependent on your phone.

I know. It’s ironic that you just read an article on problem solving telling you to not read articles on problem solving. But hopefully you’ll rely on yourself a little more from now on.

This article was originally posted on

I recently finished my guide to eating healthier for beginners (nice word for extremely unhealthy people). Check it out here:

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