Life does not always give us ideas on how to solve problems and get out of the difficult situations we face. If you are in a difficult situation, sometimes you have to use what you have, along with creativity and ingenuity, in order to solve it. No guideline can cover every possible situation, but here are some general suggestions.
Step 1. Get ready
You cannot anticipate everything, but you can anticipate many things, and the sooner you can prepare, the more resources you can use when faced with a problem. Also find ways to prevent future problems, if possible. Prevention is better than cure.
- Build a set of tools and learn how to use them. The more tools you can use when you get stuck, the more resourceful you can be. Depending on where you spend your time, the tools you have at your disposal can take on the appearance of a true toolbox, or they can be in your wallet, emergency kit, workshop, kitchen, equipped truck, or even your camping kit. … Learn to use your tools. Then make sure you always have it at your fingertips.
- Practice at home. If you do not know how to change a tire, try doing it on the road, before you are many kilometers away from home, in the dark, in the rain. Learn to pitch your tent in your backyard, or go on a short day hike to get used to your climbing kit. Improve your toolbox and your skills before trying them out.
- Try to anticipate potential problems and deal with them before they become problems. If you're worried about forgetting your keys and locking yourself up, hide your spare key in your backyard. Attach the keys to something big and noticeable so you don't lose them. Keep in touch with those who come and go so that you don't accidentally lock each other up.
Step 2. Assess the situation
When you find yourself in a difficult situation, try to understand and define the problem as accurately as possible. Finding a solution to this problem is better than worrying. This can be learned by trying to train your mind every time you start to worry.
- How serious is it? Is this really a crisis, or just an inconvenience or a setback? Does this need to be resolved immediately, or can you wait and find a better solution? The more urgent the situation, the more creative you need to be. Calm down first, think well before taking any action.
- What is the nature of this problem? What is really needed? For example, do you need to unlock a door, or do you need to enter or exit? These are two different problems, since in the second case you can get through a window, climb a wall, enter from a back door, or remove hinged door hinges. For that matter, do you need access, or maybe you will get what you need elsewhere?
Step 3. Assess what's available to you
Resourcefulness means above all the intelligent, creative use of resources. Remember that a resource is not always a subject. Do you have access to the following or could you get it?
- People. Whether you need to ride the bus to get home, good ideas, moral support, phone use, or just extra hands, involve others if possible. Brainstorming can lead to some great collaborative decisions. Ask people you know and trust. Get professional help. Or, if necessary, ask for paid help (authorities, employees, associate professors, bailiffs), as these people often have access to additional resources. Even if you end up asking strangers for help, you will probably be pleasantly surprised by the results. If one or two people are missing, could you form a team or target group? Could you convince the mayor's office or another organization to help your case? "What distinguishes those who achieve something from those who do not, is in direct proportion to the ability to ask for help." This is a quote from the Coca Cola CEO from The Journey.
- Connection. Could you please contact someone who might know the answer, lend a hand, etc.? Could you ask a question, ask someone to start, coordinate, collaborate or empathize?
- Information. Has anyone solved a similar issue before? How does the thing (or system, or situation) that you are trying to deal with works? How to get home from here? Who can you contact and how? How do you make a fire?
- Money. They can't get you out of every awkward position, but they can be quite powerful weapons in some situations. If you don't have the money and need it, the resourcefulness can be either getting by without it or collecting it. Could you ask people to do a fundraiser or get a job?
- Items. Don't be afraid to use them in unconventional ways. Wire hangers can be incredibly flexible, and while screwdrivers are not really designed to chisel, leverage, knock, scrape, etc., in a pinch they might do.
- Intangible assets. Sunlight, gravity, and free will can be used to your advantage, and even be used to your advantage.
- Time. If you have the opportunity, use it. Again, you may need to figure out where you can find some more. Depending on the situation you have to overcome, you may need to work longer, ask for more time, get others' time, implement temporary measures while you can develop something more permanent, be patient, or ask others for patience.
Step 4. Work in the opposite direction
Take stock of what you have in stock and think about how you can use it to apply to the problem.
Step 5. Break the rules
Be careful not to disregard the law, but use things in unconventional ways, or go against conventional wisdom or social norms if that helps. Be prepared to take responsibility, correct an injustice, or explain to yourself if you have crossed your limits.
Step 6. Be creative
Think of crazy possibilities, obvious or practical. You might find inspiration for an acceptable solution in one of them.
Step 7. Experiment
Trial and error can take a while, but if you don't have experience with a specific situation, this is a very good way to start. At least you'll find out what doesn't work.
Step 8. Use the situation to your advantage if you can
If you're late for the bus and the next one is in an hour, could you have a cup of coffee or pop into a nearby store while you wait? If the weather is freezing, could you use snow as shelter or ice as a building material?
Step 9. Improvise
Don't limit yourself thinking that only a final solution will work. Use what you have on hand for a workaround. Secure your bike so that you can limp home and do all the work later.
Step 10. Be an opportunist
If the opportunity presents itself, do your best to accept it. Don't think too much.
Step 11. Act quickly
An effective solution often depends on a prompt response. Be decisive, and as soon as a decision is made, do not analyze, act.
Step 12. Learn from your mistakes
If you had to struggle to fix the problem, take steps to make sure it doesn't happen again. If you've tried something that doesn't work, try something different next time.
Step 13. Be persistent
If you give up before the problem is solved, then you haven't solved anything. Try again, a dozen or a hundred different ways, if necessary. Do not give up. Never assume that if you are unlucky right now, then it is a failure. Learn to see the positive in any situation.
- Don't think about the past. If the cause or the original problem is something you can't fix, just take action to fix it as best you can.
- Learn to be resourceful before problems begin to weigh on you. Try to use whatever is on hand in the closet instead of going out to the store. Invent what you need instead of buying it. Build or create something of your own, even if it's ready and available.
- Being resourceful means having a source of knowledge. Sometimes you can look at a successful person who has a lot of experience and see what helped him / her achieve what he / she represents, and you can try asking them simple questions that you might be interested in.
- Also research and reading are very helpful. Learning about important things can help you in the future. Focus on what you love and look for various links that are relevant to the topic or idea, so not only learn, but master.
- Interpersonal contacts, like physical tools, can be collected ahead of time when you need them. The web, official or unofficial, is one way to collect them. Also, if possible, invite others to become helpful before you need it.
- Do not panic. Pressure can motivate well, but not when it darkens your thinking. Think about why you can't just give it up, and what will give you the edge in retaining what you need to be successful.
- If you whip up something to get over it instantly, be sure to do whatever is necessary to get it right.
- In a truly state of emergency (imminent threat to life or property), usually the best and most resourceful thing you can do is call the relevant authorities, give them the information they need to do their job, and then refrain.
- Make sure you know what you are doing. Otherwise, you may create a completely new problem.