Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

How To Be A Problem Solver

Limitations get a bad rap because they are thought of as curbing our freedom. But a blank canvas is far more crippling than any pair of handcuffs could ever be.

Consider the story behind the most recognisable video game character of all time, Mario.

The only thing the creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, had to guide him when fleshing out the Italian plumber was a loose narrative: a love triangle between a man, a woman and a gorilla.

Mario’s design possibilities were endless, were it not that the console hardware was limited to 8-bit images.

To keep Mario from looking like a skin coloured snowman, Miyamoto first enlarged his nose. And to keep his nose from disappearing into his chin, he was given a moustache.

Adding anything more than sideburns was too difficult, so instead of hair he got a hat. And to make his arms stand out, he was dressed up inside overalls.

It’s-a him, Mario. A wonderful product of the limitations of pixelation.

Most of us deal with constraints on a daily basis: hand in the work by tomorrow, stay within the budget, do the same as last time but quicker.

And how do we react? We complain. And if the demand is really outlandish we say it’s impossible.

Sometimes it is. But usually our whining is simply a result of a lack of vision.

To correct your view you want to reframe the problem. Rather than think, “It’s impossible because…,” you say, “It’s achievable if…”

Rather than wasting energy shooting down the constraint, you focus all your efforts on finding a solution.

Which sounds simple enough, but most people think problem solving is looking for reasons why it can’t be done first.

Don’t be a negative nelly, look for solutions and be a problem solver.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach