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Emotions in problem solving

emotions in problem solving

How do you approach problems? Do you panic? Do you hit an adrenaline rush? Do you look for the nearest corner to hide? A simple question yet something that sets you back on your heels when you take the time to contemplate how the problem solving process evolves. It’s how we perceive it, approach it, reflecting upon it, and then hopefully use our experience and wisdom to tackle these situations. Some problems are easy, others are more difficult and some are never resolved to our liking. We all face problems on a daily basis- all shapes, sizes, and levels of difficulty.

Actually, when you think about it, problems reside in all aspects of our lives- personal and professional, yet it’s how we emotionally invest in the resolution that really counts. I’ve often noticed that when it comes to problem-solving, I am much more confident in making the difficult decisions at the office rather than the decisions in my personal relationships due to the difference in emotional investments.  Maybe it’s the level of education and experience in my field that affords that level of confidence and security, or maybe it’s because making those decisions has limited effect on my personal well-being and overall life experiences.

Emotions play a significant role in how we problem solve and given our emotions are part of our personality composite, its part of what makes us unique. Individuals, like myself, who are passionate about our work, our teams, and striving for excellence in what we do, tend to be more excitable and reactive when it comes to issues and resolution,. The more intense the problem, the more strongly we react and care about the outcome- good or bad. For those who are more introverted and stoic in nature, they may present a less fervent display when working to resolve issues. Everyone has their own comfort zones.

Attitude and confidence come from our behavioral composite but it’s our emotional intelligence and enthusiasm for life that fuels our willingness to be creative in problem-solving and our confidence to be outspoken in our perspective and opinions. Fears and biases, on the other hand, are other areas that are also fueled by our emotions and depending upon the issue, can be an ally to our strengths, or can be an area of opportunity waiting for a push to motivate a change.

In order to gain insight into your problem solving approach, take time to understand how your behaviors and reactions present during times of discord and crisis so you will have a greater awareness of how effective you are in problem-solving for yourself and among others. If you don’t like what you see, take steps to reveal your fears and restraints in order to bring them to light for resolution. Find your confidence in your strengths and abilities and elevate those skills to a higher level of repetition and performance. Address your fears, shine a light of truth on your biases, and balance your mindset to be one of fairness and steadiness. In the big scheme of life, problems will come and go, but it’s how you managed the moment that people will remember-including yourself.

Shana Garrett is a Counselor, Educator, and Pure Heart Leader President and CEO. She brings over thirty years of program development, management, and transformation to the diverse world of proprietary education as well as over eight years of experience as a paralegal. More about me »

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