The problem might be hard, but the solution can be easy. That’s a central insight of a solutions-focused approach. If we get too tangled up in thinking about the problem, analysing it and talking about it, we might miss the simplicity of doing something different – which may well be unrelated to the problem in any obvious way, yet improve things quickly. A nice example here, in this Guardian Weekend column by Oliver Burkeman.
A participant on a recent webinar cited a study he’d heard about, saying that visualising a goal can be counter-productive to one’s motivation. Apparently, there’s a danger of feeling that you’ve already accomplished your objective, so you put less effort into doing it ‘again’ for real.
One of the most important ideas in Solutions Focus is that the problem is not necessarily related to the solution. And this notion seems odd to many people. They wonder how can you get to a solution if you don't start with a problem.
A first step may be to imagine various issues where there is no problem.
Business people often complain that they bring the trials and tribulations of work home with them. During weekends and evenings, rather than fully engaging in social activities with families and friends, they find that their minds wander back to the office and the problems and challenges piled up there.
Given that we care about our work, this isn’t too surprising. We take it seriously as it’s important to us. At the extreme, we let our jobs define who and what we are. Yet we also care at least as much about our families, our communities and our valuable free time.
Let’s re-consider this equation.