Problems and Dilemmas

The problem: Some sort of problems are easier to solve than others.
Have you noticed that with some problems you struggle more than with others although the complexity is not higher or the problem does not seem to be really more difficult?

The reason: Some problems are problems and some are dilemmas.
Not all problems have the same "meta" structure and thus they should be treated differently.
Sample: You want to by a deodorant spray. So you go to an appropriate shop and search for the shelf where the deodorants are.
Scenario 1: There is only one type of deodorant spray there available. - In this case you simply take it, go to the counter to pay and that's it.
Scenario 2: There are plenty of different types and brands available. - In this case the effort needed to buy a deodorant can be much higher because you have to choose first.

For scenario 2 it means that you are in a dilemma - you are facing several opportunities. You have to analyze and evaluate the options and choose the best fitting solution. This also means that you have to be more aware of your own favors and priorities.

The solution: Identify the character of a problem and deal with it accordingly.
The first step is to identify the different problems. With some training you could identify the different problem types early:

The "normal" problem: Something does not work or something new should be achieved. Characteristics of this type is that you face a new field of interest or you have been disappointed Steps:
  1. Define the problem and/or desired outcome.
  2. Gather required information to get an overview or to know more details.
  3. Get or build the necessary tools to solve the problem.
  4. Solve the problem by doing solving actions (paint a picture, construct a house, ...).

The dilemma: Several goals should be achieved but there is some sort of deadlock and a decision is required.
Characteristics of this type is that you are blocked in proceeding and the next action is not clear to you. Steps:
  1. Review your set of goals and prioritize them.
  2. Review the information you already have.
  3. Decide whether it makes sense waiting until probably more information is available.
  4. If waiting does not make sense then take your decision now and accept the consequences you can already expect and also those that you do not see yet - as you can be satisfied that you have taken the decision from your best knowledge that was available yet.
Related posts: Finding the proper priorities, Find the root problem, Considerations on decisions.

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