The Answer to Your Problems in 10 Letters!

Seeking answers to the meaning of life? Got a problem to solve?  I have the answer for you –

It’s Crosswords!


Problem Solving

Regular blog readers will know that I love crosswords. My favourite is the Sunday one which is particularly cryptic and takes me most of the week to complete (I say ‘complete’; usually there is one clue that drives me bonkers and I never solve!)

Over time I have got to know the style of the setters and try and tune into it on starting. So some I know will be tilting towards anagrams and others have a bias toward general knowledge for example. So when looking for clues that’s where I start; I’m either looking for anagrams or dredging up my general knowledge.

Stuck with a Problem?

And when I get stuck I put the puzzle down and pick it up the next day when the answer will often be staring me in the face! How could I possibly have missed it the day before?

The truth is of course, that I have been looking at the same problem for too long and got stuck in my self imposed terms of reference. As in:

This is probably an anagram as the same amount of letters are in the clue as in the grid and this setter loves anagrams.”

When I take a fresh look and (crucially) forget about the anagram thing I seem to leave space in my mind for the answer to appear!

Like life, eh? Sometimes we have a problem that we’re just stuck with no matter how much time we have devoted to solving it. Sometimes we need a fresh pair of eyes to look, either our own or someone else’s. And sometimes we have to let go of our sacred cows, our own internally imposed restrictions and parameters.

Problem Solving Exercise

If you’re problem is a person try to imagine them as someone else. Let go of your preconceived ideas of what you think they are like and try to really LISTEN to them afresh. Imagine you know almost nothing about them. Your ideas of where they are coming from probably means you’re not really hearing them but instead are:

a) thinking of your next riposte


b) only hearing the bits that fit your preconceived idea of what and who they are.

Neither is particularly helpful in arriving at a good outcome.

And if your problem is not people focussed, try leaving it for a while and coming back to it. Go for a walk, try doodling, listen to music. Put your focus elsewhere and give your brain a boost and then come back to it and get creative!

If you enjoyed this, take a look at this article from the archives on problem solving. If you’re facing a problem there’s lots of advice on the blog – hope it’s helpful to you!

And if you’ve been thinking about working one to one I have some spaces available very soon! Give me a call on 01761 438749 or use the contact page. I promise you I don’t talk in anagrams!

Photo Credit: Katia Grimmer-Laversanne


Posted on September 14th, 2011 by

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