3 Ways to Problem-Solve

If you’re facing a difficult decision to make that involves a big leap, one that involves other people, or one that affects your place in the world, solving it with the rational brain alone can feel limiting. You may tell yourself the rational argumets involved and yet find yourself stuck in an impasse, leading to stagnancy.

Humans have always known how to solve problems in different ways. Our ancestors knew how to intuit food resources, sense directions of the wind, and read subtle signs of an coming invasion. These multitude ways of solving problems were fed by their sensory receptors, feeding into the nervous system and leading to decision-making outside of conscious awareness.

Following the industrial revolution however humans gradually became more logic-oriented. Over centures, we became a species that operated largely through logic.

While logic is important, it limits us to other ways of problem-solving especially when problems are relational or existential in nature.


Consider these different ways of solving different problems.

1. Thinking : works best for logical and functional problems.
It draws solutions from past patterns (habits), memory, calculates obstacles, and dishes out the quickest way to get from Problem A to Solution A. This is useful for linear and process-oriented problems which are functional. For example, calculating your schedule to ensure the delivery of a project deadline or calculating your driving route to work and informing work if you foresee an incident. It can also be useful to look at pros and cons of a situation.

2. Interocepting, Sensing and Intuiting: works best for relational and existential challeges.
This uses the body. For example, when you sense nausea in the gut when in a challenging dynamic with a colleague, when your heartrate increases in certain meetings, or when your body feels numb or lonely in certain relationships. Your rational mind may argue that you shouldn’t be upset, but your body holds information that is larger. This article doesn’t go through the details about how to read these signals, but that your body says something in itself is enough to begin sensing and tracking. This method taps into subtler levels of intelligence outside of conscious awareness and ingrained within the nervous system which is organically relational.

3. Passive: works best for problems that are too big, vague or out of reach to take in your stride.
While you may solve certain problems rationally and intuitively, you may also find that some problems are simply too big to take into your stride. Developing a practice of letting go, releasing grips and trusting the larger life process can be useful to navigate these problems. Sometimes doing nothing can bring up insight. It’s also possible to dismiss it for another time, or trusting that it will get solved without your active intervention.

For most of us we do try to solve things logically. Could some of our matters be solved in any of these other ways? 

Food for thought 🙂