Human beings have evolved to be problem solvers. In our fast-paced, technologically based world where deadlines ever loom, and high levels of stress are expected and part-and-parcel of living, we are designed to respond by doing what humans do best – thinking.
However, paradoxically, I have noticed that when I am trying to solve a problem by thinking, at first I come to find solutions to the situation, the obstacle that I am trying to overcome. All seems well, and then I find problems inherent in my new solution – so I have to ‘iron them out’ too. Or, what seems a fantastic outcome, like finding more than one solution to my problem, I start to then think about which one of these remedies would be the best. All of these have repercussions too…and pretty soon I am ensnared in a cobweb of solutions! The one simple problem can actually seem like the preferred status quo – but I have been struck by what I have come to term “paralysis analysis” – when one becomes stuck trying to dissect and solve a problem to the extent that inertia ensues because one is stuck in one’s head.
The answer is not avoiding thinking about solutions to problems, altogether. However, it is important, I have found, not to spend so much time and energy trying to think and to dissect and trying to find “the perfect answer”, that I delay acting on any of my ideas in the first place!
It would, I realise in retrospect, have been wiser and more efficient to think a bit, but more from an intuitive, right-brained approach, which I find I need to become relaxed to be able to use. This is sort of a common-sense way of dealing with problems – looking at the ‘big picture’ and keeping it simple. I find it definitely more efficient and less stressful, and yes, it does seem to produce better outcomes then the left-brained, critically analysing left-brain which performs in a reverse-like manner – failing to see the big picture and concentrating on little details. This way of thinking tends to prevail when stressed, and it is therefore wise to slow down, relax, and consciously be aware that ‘paralysis analysis’ has a way of ultimately making us stuck, and ineffectual.
When we think about things in a relaxed, simpler way, looking at the big picture, we gain perspective, and have time to take action – which is the most important part of dealing with any problem.