MY SIMPLE 10-STEP PROBLEM-SOLVING FORMULA I LEARNT FROM DONALD TRUMP!
If you follow me or have been my friend on any of the social media platforms, you would by now suspect my strong affinity towards President Donald Trump. Trust me, that attraction is not without solid reason. I count Donald Trump to be one of my great mentors living. Forget all the media bias and conditioned hatred against him, that man is a great businessman. And I’m not even talking personality kinks now. Everybody has his/her own personality difference. Let’s keep our focus on business, wealth and personal or professional development. You need to have read any of his books, authored much before he became president, and you can quickly confirm his ‘large heart’ towards helping people achieve their own success and personal dreams. If you’re an entrepreneur, a small business owner, a focused executive or corporate climber, or someone who just wants to achieve any kind of success in whatever field or endeavour, trust me that you can learn a lot from Trump’s advice in his books.
Trump has numerous books in print (some co-authored with other celebrated authors/business gurus), besides the many written about him. The Art of the Deal (his first book; a great business book written in 1987), The Art of the Comeback, Think Big (with Bill Zanker), Think Like a Champion, Surviving at the Top, Think Like a Billionaire, The America We Deserve, Midas Touch (with Robert Kiyosaki), How to Get Rich, Why We Want You to Be Rich (with Kiyosaki), and many others. But this is not about Trump or me, it is about you; it is about a problem-solving formula that I picked up in one of his books that I believe you can employ to face up to problems and solve them in your own journey to crushing your goals in 2021 and beyond. Problem-solving is a critical skill we all have to master in business and in life, especially if you desire to reach the top of your chosen career and in life.
My Perspective to Problem Solving..
Donald Trump says, “Too many people think too much about their current situation, instead of thinking about what could be. They’re so caught up in the problem that they lose the ability to EVISION a solution”. Well, true confession, I used to have this problem of intense and clear focus too. And boy, was I screwed by my problems, until I began mastering this skill. Unfortunately, nobody totally ‘masters’ this skill for life. The more problems you solve, the more you qualify to solve bigger problems and challenges at higher levels in the future whether in business, career, in life or relationships. So, what I do since then, that you should too, is that I don’t fixate on problems. Some of us allow ourselves to dwell too much on the challenges, going over the problems again and again in our minds. You can’t solve your problems that way. You would lose your focus on your ultimate goals and dreams or objectives by making your mind focus only on the difficulties.
So, what do I do that I learnt from Trump? I refuse to get caught up in the seeming difficulties. Just acknowledge the problem and then immediately shift your attention to possible solutions to solving those problems and greatly turning things around. I don’t think about and/or personalize problems, saying, “why should this happen to me”, “this is so difficult”, “it is impossible to solve”, “can I ever find a way”, or “what would happen to me if I don’t solve it”? All that is useless thinking. Instead, I accept the fact that I have a problem and a particular challenge has been laid at my feet; acknowledging my capacity to crack the problem with focus and persistence. It is at that point that I lay this roadmap down, a great formula I learnt from Mr. Trump that I would be teaching you here. Not exactly the way he taught it or wrote about it. I have since elaborated this formula and evolved it based on my own experience and style. So here it goes.
How to Continually Succeed in Solving Problems in business and life!
1. Acknowledge that you have a problem; that there is a problem. This is the first step. You can’t solve your problems, whether in life or business, living in denial. You can’t ignore the facts and the visible situation you find yourself in. There is no cash flow, no income, your numbers are down compared to your monthly targets, no new customers coming in, etc. I am sick, my wife left me, I’m single, my network is crap, no assets, my net worth is nothing to write home about, and so on. You have to acknowledge that these are problems, glaring feedbacks starring you in the face, based on your goals and objectives in life. You can’t deny them, ignore them, or simply wish them away; you can only respond and tackle them head-on.
2. Now think about what is good about the problem; about your situation now. You have to see the problems, your situation, from the brighter side. Look to the sunny side of things. If you have lost your job, perhaps this is an opportunity for you to reflect very well about all that you did and didn’t do on your previous job and how you can use this experience to make better decisions for future employment. Perhaps it is time for you to modify and refine your CV, based on all these experiences and new knowledge you now have, for the dream job you desire or have always wanted. Perhaps it’s time for you to start that business you’ve always thought of starting. If you’re single, perhaps it is the best moment for you to “dream up” your ideal marriage, your ideal spouse, and then focus on making yourself an all-round ideal person who qualify to have that kind of marriage or family. If money is not coming in, then it’s time for you to make better plans on how to modify your products/services and how to attract customers. The list goes on. Always think about the “hidden opportunities” in your problems per time. Like Napoleon Hill said, “Every problem, every difficulty, comes with it the seed of an equivalent advantage. You just have to look well to find it”.
3. Accept or see the problem as a challenge and accept your capacity to solve the challenge. In other words, refuse to worry, complain or murmur about the problem or the size of it. See it as a call-to-duty for you; a fitting challenge at your feet especially tailor-made for you to solve. Have a good attitude towards your problems and you would always find the “opportunity” in each situation. As Donald Trump is always wont to ask about his challenges, “Is this a blip or a circumstance?”.
4. Fourth, dream up possible scenarios where everything is perfect. In other words, don’t merely take the short cut approach to solving your problems. Don’t just go fighting fires. Dream up possible scenarios where things are perfect or ideal based on your long and short terms dreams and goals. Envision how things can be better; how they can roundly align with your envisioned dreams, goals and aspirations. And then focus on that. Be strategic-minded.
5. Fifth, come up with several ideas and possible solutions/strategies to solving this problem; to arriving at that destination or life or career outcome you have envisioned. The trick is to not censor or criticize any of your ideas. Come up with as many ideas as possible and then put them down on paper. Write all those ideas down. Don’t critique yourself. Don’t doubt yourself. Just write out as many ideas as you can think of. Brian Tracy calls this approach, “Map mapping”; “The 20-idea approach”. He says to rapidly put 20 ideas on paper to tackle a particular problem and select the best ones to apply immediately.
6. Pick the best five of those ideas. From the many ideas above, pick the best five that make more sense to you and then take action on one of them immediately. If that one fails, go onto the next one, if it falls apart, proceed to the next, and the next, until you succeed. Never give up and never quit. Be focused and persistent. Also, don’t forget that “action” doesn’t always mean going out to do something that involves engaging other people. It can also mean to getting “prepared”. It can mean getting yourself ready or building capacity for the task ahead or the job at hand. So maybe you need to do some research to acquire more insights; to read a book to gain more enlightenment. Maybe you need to get a mentor, a coach, some support system, a recommendation, etc. You need to do a retreat, mediation, etc, to declutter your mind, etc; go for it!
7. Be flexible. As you go along taking those actions and solving the challenge, don’t forget to listen to your spirit and intuition. Some ideas and strategies can come to you that are completely outside what you thought about. Don’t be so rigid that you refuse to acknowledge important gems of creative thoughts and ideas that can just pop up from your subconscious mind that can be a game-changer for you to bridge those problems greatly. Such ideas can be a great springboard to your ultimate envisioned success and goals; don’t ignore them.
8. Deal with your inner demons of fear and self-doubt. Our greatest enemies are not out there; they’re in between your two ears. Your self-talk is the greatest communication you can ever have in the world. It doesn’t matter what happens out there, what other people think or say, be patient and kind with and to yourself. You may make a few mistakes. Your ideas may not be perfect; at least when you start off. You may face some rejections. You may be ignored as you start off. Remember to be your own highest cheerleader. Never second-guess or become too self-critical of yourself. Crush the negative voices in your head before they ever get the chance to affect or stop you. If you want to achieve any meaningful success in life, if you want to consistently solve your problems at a higher level in life or business, you have to let fear, negative thoughts, opinions of others, and doubts, die! Be focused on your goals and sustain your momentum, diligence and hard work.
9. Celebrate your little wins. At every juncture, you have to give yourself little pats on the back for success achieved; for a goal or mini goal crunched. Be grateful to God and celebrate yourself for little victories. It shows you can handle anything with your God-given ability and potential.
10. Lastly, remember that things may likely take much longer than anticipated. So be patient with yourself, and with the process. Celebrate every step and ground you cover and stay fresh and ready for the next one. And don’t settle. Solving one challenge opens you up to more and bigger challenges to solve. Once you stop setting challenging and bigger goals, your mind and emotional muscles starts to atrophy. Someone defined success as achieving results in succession. Keep moving and keep going. There are bigger and more problems to solve ahead of you, not just for yourself, your business or organization; but for your society, the world.
So, there it is, my ten-step problem solving formula, as learnt and modified from a great businessman and mentor, President Donald J. Trump, 45th and current President of the United States. I trust that as you apply them into your own life and work, you will see accelerated results and would be able to achieve your goals more rapidly.
Leadership & life coach; Strategy consultant & Founding Partner, APNET Consult Limited (ACL)