I’ve had the following video up on YouTube for awhile now and received a comment that I should walk through an example of the three steps included in the video that will help you solve a problem fast. You can catch the video for the quick tips, but it boils down to three steps which are, use I statements, avoid blaming and/or complaining and focus on what you want instead of the problem. Let’s look at an example.
Example of How to Solve a Problem Fast
Every time I go to brush my teeth, the toothpaste, the tube has been squished from the middle instead of being rolled from the bottom. Not only does this create an inconvenience to me as I have to roll it from the bottom to make sure to get it all out, I mean after all, “Waste not, want not right”, right? Here is how to handle that problem using the three step system.
“I would like the toothpaste to be rolled up from the bottom so we can make it easier to use it all up and not have to work so hard to get the toothpaste out.”
Avoid Blaming and Complaining
Notice the “I statement” did not include blaming the other person or complaining about the problem, simply stated what I want.
Focus on What You Want, Not the Problem
If I was focusing on the problem I might have said “I can’t believe how hard it is to get the toothpaste out when people don’t roll the tube from the bottom up” and then maybe continue to complain. This offers no resolution whatsoever.
When you offer a reasonable request using an “I statement” most people are willing to consider it and work something out that is comfortable for all concerned.
What to do if the “How to Solve a Problem Fast” method doesn’t work?
If someone is unwilling to work with you to meet your needs, then you might have to consider setting boundaries. Boundaries are not about making another person do something they aren’t willing to do on their own; they are about taking care of yourself.
In the “toothpaste issue” setting a boundary might look like:
- Buying your own toothpaste that no one else is permitted to use so you can handle it any way you like
- Buying toothpaste that comes in a different type of container
- Learning to live with the inconvenience without carrying resentments about it
- Getting your own place so you don’t have to deal with people who won’t respect reasonable requests (Extreme for toothpaste, but might be a consideration if there is an abundance of disrespect or refusal to consider you comfort along with their own)
Oh, and you set a boundary the same way, use I statements, refuse to blame or complain and focus on what you want. “I have decided to purchase my own toothpaste, please don’t use it.” Is really all you would have to say about setting the boundary of having your own toothpaste to handle the way you wish.
While this was a simple problem, this system will work for even bigger and more complex problems. Feel free to contact me if you would like support in learning how to use it.