Problem-solving Guidelines
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The following 16 guide-lines will serve you well as you strive to solve a personal problem:

  1. Problems that are written down are more likely to get solved.
  2. Problem statements should list the desired end, not the means .  If the end is not known, the problem is not ready to be solved. 
  3. Pick exciting problems to solve.  You will be motivated to solve them and joy the action of making them work.
  4. A well defined problem is half solved if you know the underlying cause. The flip side of the problem is the solution remove the deficiency.
  5. Beware of hidden assumptions that might not be true or that limit your solution options. "Often, it is the unrecognized assumption that prevents a good solution." (reference article located at this website http://www.virtualsalt.com/crebook4.htm).
  6. The cause of all personal problems is a deficiency of either know-what, know-how or resources.
  7. The way you view the problem is most often the problem.   Change your view of the problem and the problem difficulty may change for the better..
  8. There is more than one way to remove a deficiency.  Pick the easiest way.
  9. Some solutions are easier to implement than others.  The simplest solution is usually the best solution.  Don't make impossible tasks a condition of any solution. 
  10. Use proven, existing solutions to solve a problem by adapting them to your situation.
  11. Find the opportunity in the solution you found for solving your problem.   Others might be able to use it to solve their problem and pay you for the privilege.
  12. Keep your head (even if those around you lose theirs), remain calm under fire, and think for a change.
  13. Embrace change as it is the only way to solve a problem.  You must change the things that are causing it (the root causes or deficiencies).
  14. Break the rules restricting a good solution when there are good reasons for doing so. Always ask if there is a rule that if broken would enable you to solve the problem?
  15. Collect all solutions, even the bad ones.  Bad solutions can be stepping stones to good solutions. 
  16. Don't be afraid to make mistakes.  Mistakes and false starts are almost a precondition for success. The only source of knowledge is experience, and the only source of experience is mistakes.  One must be prepared to fail their way to success.