How to Solve a Problem: 6 Quick and Powerful Tips

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”
Albert Ellis

“Problems are to the mind what exercise is to the muscles, they toughen and make strong.”
Norman Vincent Peale

“Every problem has a gift for you in its hands.”
Richard Bach

Are you having a problem in your life right now?

If so, maybe these six quick tips can help you to solve it a little bit easier.

1. First, ask yourself: is there really a problem here?

Often we create problems in our own heads – as I mentioned a bit about a few days ago in Simplify Your Life – that aren’t really out there in reality. So relax a bit. And think about if this is really a big problem.

Is it something that will matter in 5 years? Or even in 5 weeks?

Life becomes so less stressful when you stop making mountain out of molehills (or just out of thin air).

2. Accept it.

When you accept that the problem already exists and stop resisting then you also stop putting more energy into the problem and “feeding it”.

Now it just exists (well, more or less, you might still feel a bit down about it).

You can use the energy you previously fed the problem with – the energy that probably made the problem look bigger than it was – to find creative solutions to the challenge.

3. Ask for help.

You can ask people for advice on what to do and what they did in similar situations.

But you can also ask for more practical help. You don’t have to solve every problem on your own and sometimes it feels better to have someone by your side, even if it is just for emotional support.

If you just ask you may find that people will often be willing to help you out.

4. Use 80 percent of your time to find solutions.

And only 20 percent to complain, worry and whine.

It might not always be easy but focusing your energy, time and thoughts in this way is much more beneficial for you and others than doing the opposite.

5. Break the problem down into smaller pieces.

Solving a problem can sometimes seem overwhelming and impossible. To decrease anxiety and think more clearly break the problem down.

Identify the different parts it consists of. Then figure out one practical solution you can take for each of those parts. Use those solutions.

They may not solve the whole problem immediately. But those solutions can get you started and might solve a few pieces of the it.

6. Find the opportunity and/or lesson within the problem.

I have found that there is almost always a positive side to a problem.

Perhaps it alerts us of a great way to improve our business or relationships. Or teaches us how our lives perhaps aren’t as bad as we thought.

Finding this more positive part of the problem reduces its negative emotional impact. You may even start to see the situation as a great opportunity for you.

When you are faced with a problem ask yourself:

  • What is the good thing about this?
  • What can I learn from this?
  • What hidden opportunity can I find within this problem?

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Thanks for this post — asking for help has definitely been an edge for me, and now that I’ve been doing it more recently, even when dealing with famous authors, I’ve found people much more willing to assist me than I thought they’d be. Best, Chris

  • Very helpful post.

    I particularly liked [b]5. Break the problem down into smaller pieces[/b] and [b]6. Find the opportunity and/or lesson within the problem.[/b]

    There’s not one person in the world who couldn’t use that advice.

  • Wow, really great post.

    What you’ve done is that you’ve broken down the “law of attraction” into 6 steps… brilliant.



  • I am just wondering if I can use the same concept when there are tons of problems in my life at the same time. Life without problems wouldn’t be life at all but when a few problems appears, it is really difficult to find the strength to actually sit down and think about them rationally. Perhaps, the one thing we can do is work on each of them one at a time.

  • River

    Hi.. Henrik, What a great post!! I like #5 n #6. It helps to change my view of my problem. Thanks!

  • This is great. Spread the positivity. More people need to hear this. Thank You. Continue to spread the word for our nation with positive words at

  • Mariadoss

    it is very nice . i like this word very much..
    What is the good thing about this?
    What can I learn from this?
    What hidden opportunity can I find within this problem?

  • I have soo many problems in my life that you can as well call me the “problem guy” ! :D Thanks for the informative article. Hopefully I can get rid of a few of these pesky problems with the help of your tips ;)

  • purnima

    i purnima brought to banglore . i in a problem, who to solve it i do not know?
    before going to problem, i heard that banglore is a evergreen city but i think so it is surely not so because i found all over area of urine smell. it is very difficult to face to problem because as you know due to pollution very disease can occur but i am person face around the area and in also in our water. we are very difficult to face this situation day by day because we are using for our daily purposes .
    please kindly help us to solve this problem as soon as possible. please please please