Bliss continues proactive approach to resilience
Problem solving is a skill to help us accurately identify what caused the problem and identify effective solution strategies for them.
Since January, Fort Bliss has undergone post and 1st Armored Division Commander Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard’s initiative for a resilience campaign. For six months, each month highlighted a core competency of resilience. In June, the focus shifted to spotlight some of the skills that make up each of the six competencies. November encourages a look at problem solving, which falls under the mental agility competency.
Effective problem solving begins with focusing our thoughts on why the problem happened and identifying all the contributing factors that caused the problem.
“This can be a rather difficult task because our brains are wired to find what it is looking for and, by contrast, not find what it isn’t looking for,” said Justin Foster, performance enhancement specialist, Comprehensive Soldier Fitness – Performance and Resilience Enhancement Program team.
Confirmed bias happens when you are so convinced about something that you would “bet the farm” it is true, only to find later that your assumptions were wrong. It is the tendency to notice, remember and weight evidence that supports our thoughts and beliefs, and it sticks like Velcro, according to Foster. Meanwhile, other facts that do not support our thoughts and beliefs tend to be dropped or go unnoticed.
“For example, if you had the belief, ‘I’m not smart,’ then you may avoid opportunities to learn new things, not take challenging classes for school, or be less likely to help your children with homework,” said Foster. “With the belief, ‘I’m not smart,’ you may not easily recall the instances when you grasped a new concept quickly, or figured out how something works, that others’ did not.
“This is not intentional and can occur for positive or negative thoughts, such as, ‘I am a good leader’ or ‘I am not a good mother,’” continued Foster.
Ways to combat confirmation bias are writing down your thoughts, gaining distance and asking fair questions to gather evidence for and against your thought. Also, by consulting with others you can fight against the bias. This will help in problem solving by improving accuracy.
The skill of problem solving consists of a six-step systematic approach beginning with objectively describing the problem and ending with developing effective strategies for solving the problem. The six steps help us be more flexible and accurate in our understanding of the problem.
“Problem solving helps clearly identify the factors that caused the problem and develop effective solutions that you have more control over – even just a little bit,” said Foster. “This method can take some time, but with increased flexibility and accuracy in your thinking, you will likely develop more effective solution strategies.”
For more information about effective problem solving techniques, the campaign or how to make a more resilient you, contact the CSF-PREP team at 568-6684.
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