Some people seem to be “natural born problem solvers”. They easily wrap their brains around all different kinds of complex assignments. They always find the quickest fixes to difficult situations that emerge, they solve every crossword puzzle with easiness (answers such as “12 horizontal - endocrinology, easy right?” – piece of cake), they don’t need calculators, when everyone else conveniently reaches for their smartphones and they effortlessly find their ways out of the most complex escape rooms. I am sure you know one of these creatures.

Day by day, problem by problem.

The truth is, you most definitely ARE one of those problem solving masters yourself. Because efficiently mastering any challenge requires more than the ability to think logically, be a mental arithmetic pro, or have a good sense of orientation. Eventually, our whole life is centered around problem solving and all of our brains are pretty amazing. A combination of different abilities and skills, talents as well as acquired knowledge is responsible to get from A to B, from problem to solution, from question to result. To reach satisfactory solutions the University of Kent described this simple method of dealing with problems, applicable to almost any task:

  • Define the problem
  • Examine the options
  • Act on a plan
  • Look at the consequences

In our daily lives all of us are regularly confronted with more or less complicated problems. From the choices we make, the obstacles we routinely have to overcome to the elaborate time management that is required for our lives to run smoothly. So, in every day live, we all are tremendously good problem solvers. And this also applies to our professional surroundings. If you think about it, all fields of studies require different sets of problem solving skills, might it be art or economics, mathematics or medicine, manual work or abstract problem solving.
The same is true for the jobs we enter after we finish our education.

Future problem solving

Therefor, being a good problem solver is also one of todays most important professional skills. Within the various fields of employment there is a high demand for people with the ability to solve, work their way around or simply handle emerging problems. As it turns out even the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report agrees and cites the following skills as most relevant for the (near) future – with problem solving at the top of the list:

Top Skills in 2020:

  1. Complex Problem Solving
  2. Critical Thinking
  3. Creativity
  4. People Management
  5. Coordinating with Others
  6. Emotional Intelligence
  7. Judgment and Decision Making
  8. Service Orientation
  9. Negotiation
  10. Cognitive Flexibility

As in any other field, different people have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to problem solving. Which area of studying or which profession might be the right one for your individual set of problem solving skills, is completely up to you! You decide, which problems you are interested in solving the most. But never forget to occasionally get out of you comfort zone, because that is, when you truly broaden your horizon and further expand your already existing skills!

Now it's your turn: challenge your problem solving skills, play and push the potential of your mind!