Emotional Resilience, Part 2, Problem Solving

In Siebert’s model, part 2 of building your emotional resilience is problem solving. Well, I know a lot about problem solving. I teach Problem Solving Leadership with Jerry and Esther.

Siebert says, on p. 54 of the Resiliency Advantage:

The most resilient people, in contrast, control their emotional reactions in a crisis, engage the problems, then process their feelings afterward.

I bet most of us do, in normal circumstances. The key is how well do we? How many approaches do we use? This is where teaching PSL has helped me more than I could ever have imagined. I have an opportunity to practice teaching people how to examine a situation, how to see the problem(s), and how to clarify the outcomes they want. That means I get to practice as I teach. I’ve been teaching influence this year, too. Being specific on the outcome you want is a huge piece of that. So, I’ve been practicing the problem solving I need to do.

There’s another piece of the puzzle. Your emotions are an integral part of your problem solving. Barbara Frederickson’s Positivity shows that positive emotions broaden your cognitive skills. So, if you really want to be able to solve problems, you should have fun doing it.

This is why simulations work in workshops (and why I use them). This is why what you remember seems sharper when you have fun with friends. This is why when I learn to master my balance with dance moves, it’s easier, because I’m having fun. I even have fun in the gym because I enjoy being with Erik. Siebert says

Play, for instance, builds physical skills, self-mastery, understanding, and improves health.

Maybe we should build more play into school, eh?

And, of course, there are three kinds of intelligence. (Siebert explains lots of things in threes):

  • Analytical intelligence-logic, reason, and abstract thinking used to solve familiar problems
  • Creative intelligence-used to invent unusual solutions in new and unfamiliar circumstances
  • Practical intelligence-applied to solving situational, real-life problems. 

I’ve certainly had a chance to exercise all of my problem-solving skills managing my vertigo. I keep a health history and log of my vertigo attacks, looking for patterns (analytical). I keep canes around the house and invent “tools” to help me reach things and walk places I can’t normally go (creative). I use canes, have a very bright flashlight in my pocketbook so I can walk safely, a handicap placard so I can park close, and all kinds of other tools so I can be comfortable and safe throughout the day and leave the house (practical). And, Mark and the girls and I laugh as much and as often as possible.

As you think about your emotional resilience, think about your problem solving. Do you fully engage all three parts of your problem-solving self: your analytical self, your creative self, and your street-smart self? Is one of those problem-solving selves more developed than another? Can you think of ways to develop the other parts more fully, especially while having fun doing it?

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  1. Pingback: Emotional Resilience, Part 3, Strengthening Your Inner Selves

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