What is the most valuable skill someone can have in life? Is it kissing butts, making friends, being able to steal things without people noticing? Aside from skills like flying, super strength, or perhaps being able to communicate with animals, the most valuable skill that you can have is a simple one: the skill of finding problems and solving them- this is by far the most valuable skill one can possess. Problem solving is totally key, because there will always be problems no matter how much you know and no matter what skills you possess, but a problem solver knows how to get around the problem and make it happen.
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There is an awesome example for what problem solving can do for a person, and that example is Batman.
tBatman, a Super Hero Case Study in Problem Solving
Let us talk about Batman for a second; he isn’t the fastest of superheroes, he isn’t able to jump over buildings, stretch his limbs out, shoot lasers out of his eyes, or lift up a tank with his bare hands, but what Batman does have is the ability to figure out the problem and come up with a special tool, just right, for whatever situation he is in. You want to be like batman; when the super villains of life fire you from your job, throw a wrench in your plans, or clip off your bat wings, you want to be able to solve the problem in front of you and move forward.
While other super heroes will always just tackle problems with the same powers and abilities they have, Batman hits the workshop, he figures out the issue and he makes a unique plan to beat the bad guy and save Gotham. Learn to develop the powers of problem solving and you can be like Batman, a real life super hero!
Everyone Has Problems But How you Face Them Is Key
Each person on this planet has tons of problems: little weaknesses, insecurities inside of them, issues at work, issues in their family, or just problems in life in general; some people let problems overwhelm them easily -allowing life to kill everything they want to do. Sure, I would like to start a business or be a better husband, but there is that little problem of my bad childhood or my lack of social skills. Most people see these problems as roadblocks to what they want and just try to find a way around their problems, rather than solving issues directly. Problems can be seen one of two ways: as a problem or as an opportunity to grow: problem solvers see problems as the ladder.
So what are the benefits of having the skill of problem solving on your side, why should you value problem solving over specialized knowledge, and why should one choose to hone this skill over any other? Well, because, the ability to identify what you need to learn to solve a problem, find the information, and then solve the problem makes it possible for you to do anything you put your mind to. The ability to solve problems allows you to never be stopped by life: problem solving is one of the keys to traits like tenacity, willpower, and grit.
Problem Solving Includes Learning
I started my own website about a year ago, and I didn’t know anything about blogging, I didn’t know anything about marketing or setting up an email subscriber list, but I learned everything I needed step by step using problem solving. I could have spent an entire lifetime learning every single piece of information on how to become a freelance blogger, but the truth is I still would have had problems to face no matter how much planning I did, and no matter how many life times I had to prepare.
Problem solving is imperative to your journey because you are going to hit roadblocks and problems along the way no matter how much time you spend planning your course; problem solving is the skill that allows you to push through difficult times, find solutions, and keep you going. Problem solving skills make you learn faster, and problem solving skills better prepare you for adversity than any type of specialized knowledge and experience ever could.
Execution Is Everything
Knowing stuff is great, it really is, but what’s more important than all of the knowledge in the world? Applying that knowledge and making it work of course! When it comes time to do something in life, you may have a plan, you may have knowledge, you may have some experience, but there will always be things that happen that you couldn’t have anticipated or planned for. Knowing how to do something is like a screwdriver: your knowledge or skill only allows you to do one thing, one way. Problem solving skills are like a swiss army knife, because you can find a solution to any problem, you have a tool ready for every job.
For example: Imagine that you are an awesome cook and you want to open a restaurant. You study for months, meet up with people and then learn all the skills that you need to open a restaurant, maybe you have consultants or books, or whatever resources that you can get your hands on. You study it all, make a plan, and put it into action. You get your building, load it up with all the supplies and tools you need, you market heavily, you get your license and then on opening day...no one shows up but a homeless guy begging for some food.
Well, the person without the skill of problem solving might say “Oh well, I tried, but things just didn’t work out -I don’t have the skills I need to do this.”, and just join the homeless guy at his cardboard box for some pre-bankruptcy feast, but the man or woman with the skill of problem solving, would just hop right back into the saddle and get back on the trail into the sunset; they would start asking questions, searching online for how to get more customers, finding ideas that they could try out to get to the bottom of the issue.
You can spend your entire life preparing, making plans, studying and learning, but I guarantee you that when you go to actually execute what you planned something is going to go wrong; and then you can either run around with your arms flailing screaming “The sky is falling, the sky is falling”, or you can buckle down, figure out the problem, apply some problem solving skills to the situation, and get past it.
Don’t let the villains of Gotham overwhelm you in life, put on your Bat Shoes, hop in your bat-mobile, and get out there and figure out how to beat them one at a time. That is how problem solving works: one problem at a time. With problem solving skills you can beat anything life throws at you, you may not know how to do something, but you can use your problems solving skills to find a solution. Want to develop your own skills of problem solving? Get out there, take risks, try new things; practice solving problems and looking for problems in situation that you find yourself in each day and ask yourself "How could I make this better or improve this situation?".
What about you, how important do you think problem solving is in life? Do you think it is the most valuable skill of all? Leave a comment below telling me what YOU think is the most valuable skill of all!