The one who is happy is always grateful. However, the one who is unhappy might not necessarily be ungrateful but simply, has real problems to solve, at work or in life.
All else equal, between two persons who have the same problem, guess who will be the happy/ happier one: the problem-solver or the problem-squatter (one who squats on a problem instead of getting off his/her butts to find solutions)?
You know the answer.
Simply, the more creative you are in coming up with solutions, the less likely you will find yourself stuck in a lousy/ troubled situation and the more likely you will be pleased with the outcome and of your ingenuity.
If there’s one trait that could predict how well a person navigates through life, it is creativity. It’s a trait that attaches a high probability that an individual will emerge life as a winner, despite the journey being littered with obstacles and challenges, because he/she will find ways to get around and even rise above them.
In case you’ve never thought of yourself as being particularly creative or you think creativity is only restricted to those in creative fields eg. advertising, marketing, designing, you need to know that creativity is accessible to all and is trainable, and certainly can be applied to the practicalities of everyday life.
Here’s how you can be more creative in problem-solving:
Have the desire to know. If not, at the very least, make the effort to know more.
One great advice that my ex-economics lecturer gave more than 10 years ago and still stuck with me today is to never say ‘I don’t know’ when asked about something. Say “I will find out and let you know’. But you need not always wait to be asked before you start searching for answers.
Be curious about people, life and things; how things and people work.
The reason some people have no desire to find out is because they’re too comfortable; complacent or lazy. They cannot be bothered with putting in the extra effort, especially if there seem no immediate benefit for finding out.
Guess who are the ones who are usually the first to be made redundant at work? The ones to lose their partner’s interest? The ones who don’t impress prospective employers? The ones who don’t pique people’s interest in a social setting?
They are the ones who don’t know…
- that their work skills are no longer in demand;
- that they are so predictable they no longer intrigue their partners;
- knowledge and skills outside of their specialty that would differentiate them from their peers;
- interesting topics to engage others
Be happy with what you have but never stop striving for better - there is no conflict between these two. On a daily basis, seek out new information and knowledge. You never know when it will come in handy, though don’t go poking into the private lives of everyone you come upon or try to dig information that are clearly out of bounds.
What all these do is that you pick up useful information/ knowledge/ skills and put them all in your mental toolbox, making available an extensive repository of tools that may be retrieved when the need arises in future.
Someone who cannot admit and accept that they were wrong, either because they have a huge ego or a closed mind, will insist to hold onto long-held beliefs/concepts and stubbornly trudge on the path that they started but will lead to nowhere, and miss out on opportunities and alternatives.
It is not curiosity that kills the cat but curiosity with a need to be right that will kill the cat. Curiosity involves experimenting; there is no better way to provide clarity about an idea/ solution than playing it out. You could analyse something to the nth degree but without actually acting on it, there’s no way to know for sure that it will work. Hence, there will be times when you will be proven wrong and you will have to accept that you were wrong. And sometimes it may take a few years to find out, especially when it comes to major life decisions.
But these are no reasons to stop you - they are reasons to explore and are pointing you to the doors of opportunities. It is common knowledge that successful people almost always find their successes in the least expected places; you might have started out to be a banker but will find success in the arts, not to mention after numerous failed attempts.
Failed attempts are not failures but are steps closer to success.
Limitations challenge you to up your ante and more often than not, you’d find yourself coming up with ideas that are way superior than if there had been no limitations.
Instead of worrying about being wrong or getting stopped by what didn’t work, be committed to doing what it will take to be right. Actions lead to clarity. As you get more clarity, you gain more momentum, and then more clarity and more momentum. Keep moving and one thing will lead to the next. Before you know it, the answer has revealed itself to you.
Quit boxing yourself in. Life doesn’t have just one format that works. There are varying formats and your job is to work out yours.