If you want to find out whether you are a good problem solver who uses analysis, logical thinking, and perception, (as opposed to simply being a ‘fixer’), then take a look at these 8 special signs.
You might be surprised at what you learn about yourself, so let’s dive in:
1) You anticipate problems before they happen
It’s all well and good fixing problems that already exist, but can you spot where problems are likely to occur and then prevent them?
If so, this shows a good analytical mind, because you are able to analyze and assess situations and then play out future scenarios and problems in your head.
Does this resonate with you?
If yes then the chances are that you would be great in a job role like an Operations Manager or CEO. These skills are essential for the smooth running of any company!
2) You are curious, inquisitive, and love to learn
If you find yourself asking “why” a lot, instead of blindly accepting what you are told, then this is another sign of your ability to solve problems in an analytical way.
WHY? To fix a problem effectively, you need to know the context of the situation, and many other things.
Learning comes in because this is a natural trait of analytical people, but the result is that you can apply techniques and strategies from other situations and put them to use.
3) You do your research properly
When asking questions and learning, it’s important to take info from a wide range of sources and think with a critical mind.
Confirmation bias can lead us to seek out easy solutions that fit what we already think.
But those coming from an analytical mindset will question if what they have read is actually correct, or if there are other things and nuances that they need to know.
They will also seek out points of view and information that will contract the status quo, and then put it all together.
4) Seeing patterns and creating something new
So how do you join the dots and put your research together, using knowledge and creativity to solve problems?
This involves being able to see the connections between seemingly disparate things, and then connecting them in new and innovative ways.
Or to put it another way, it’s about following the subtle threads that connect these patterns. It could be a recurring theme, a hidden correlation, or an underlying principle that ties everything together.
Think of an investigative journalist or detective using a pinboard and red string to connect various people, places, and events.
5) You have a systematic approach
Whilst creativity and connecting different things is a vital way to analytically find solutions, it’s also important to have a ‘method to your madness’.
This can look like having a predefined set of rules and processes to guide you.
For example, if you have a complex issue to fix you might try these steps:
- Break down the problem into bite-sized pieces, like deconstructing a giant puzzle.
- Analyze the different components, variables, and factors involved – the way a watchmaker examines the gears and cogs to understand how they fit.
- Start organizing the pieces in a logical sequence.
- Create a step-by-step plan, with the necessary actions or stages to move from problem to solution.
This can be something that you replicate time and time again, but while also being ready to break the rules as required! Project Management is a job role that uses these skills.
6) You are adaptable
While a step-by-step process like the one above is a great tool for your mental problem-solving kit, rigidity is the enemy of an analytical mind.
Each complex problem will have unique aspects that may require a unique approach, so that’s why you must be willing to throw out the rule book from time to time.
And when you are faced with a roadblock what do you do?
Find creative ways to sidestep or avoid the problem. By doing so you may actually find new and better solutions than if you did not see any additional problems in the first place!
The best inventors take solutions that already exist and then approach them in a totally different way.
7) You don’t give up (unless it makes no sense to keep going!)
Resilience in the face of failure is another telling sign of an innovative inventor.
Thomas Edison, the inventor of the lightbulb, famously said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Showing determination and a willingness to keep trying, but in a new way, is a sign of an analytical mind.
Edison was very single-minded in his goal and so he may not have agreed with my caveat about knowing when to stop. In fact, another quote of his says, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time”.
But for most of us, there may come a point where the effort of solving the problem outweighs the rewards.
Deciding if and when you should quit can be analytical too, as you may realize that the issue lies with the problem, not the solution, and recognizing this is a sign of your adaptability and lack of rigidity.
8) You use logical reasoning
We’ve talked about creativity and pattern finding, but using logic effectively is another important sign of an analytical problem solver.
If you’re good at logical reasoning, then you are able to construct a chain of sound arguments. It’s like building a sturdy bridge, connecting one solid premise to the next.
You become a skilled architect, crafting a logical framework that withstands scrutiny.
You evaluate different hypotheses and consider their validity. You use objectivity and are guided by reason rather than personal biases.
Throughout the process, you remain objective and open-minded. You’re willing to revise your conclusions if new evidence emerges.
This is what good scientists do, and also those who study social subjects, such as historians or sociologists.
Can you learn to be an analytical problem solver?
Maybe you see elements of yourself in this article, or maybe not.
Either way, while these 8 skills come more naturally to some than others, you can absolutely learn and practice these techniques and ways of thinking – in turn, this will increase your ability to solve problems with an analytical mind!