The Fantastic Life

10 Characteristics of Good Problem Solvers


Below are some characteristics of good problem solvers.  I have highlighted the ones I think are most important to me.  I could have highlighted them all but I find true wisdom in finding opportunities, knowing what the real problem is and knowing how to prevent problems in the first place​.


​The Fantastic Life Rule #10: Stay Out of The Gap
This rule reminds you to forge ahead.  Don’t get stuck where you are and be discouraged by how far you need to go.  Being able to solve problems is a big part of being able to make progress.  Get where you want to be.


10 Characteristics of Good Problem Solvers

By: Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD, Professor of Psychology

November 24, 2013



Good problem solvers are good thinkers. They have less drama and problems to begin with and don’t get overly emotional when faced with a problem. They usually see problems as challenges and life experiences and try to stand above them, objectively.

Good problem solvers use a combination of intuition and logic to come up with their solutions. Intuition has more to do with the emotional and instinctive side of us and logic is more related to our cognition and thinking. Good problem solvers use both of these forces to get as much information as they can to come up with the best possible solution. In addition, they are reasonably open minded but logically skeptical.

Some of the general characteristics of good problem solvers are:

1. They don’t need to be right all the time: They focus on finding the right solution rather than wanting to prove they are right at all costs.

2. They go beyond their own conditioning: They go beyond a fixated mind set and open up to new ways of thinking and can explore options.

3. They look for opportunity within the problem: They see problems as challenges and try to learn from them.

4. They know the difference between complex and simple thinking: They know when to do a systematic and complex thinking and when to go through short cuts and find an easy solution.

5. They have clear definition of what the problem is: They can specifically identity the problem.

6. They use the power of words to connect with people: They are socially well developed and find ways to connect with people and try to find happy-middle solutions.

7. They don’t create problems for others: They understand that to have their problem solved they can’t create problems for others. Good problems solvers who create fair solutions make a conscious effort not to harm others for a self-interest intention. They know such acts will have long term consequences even if the problem is temporarily solved.

8. They do prevention more than intervention: Good problem solvers have a number of skills to prevent problems from happening in the first place. They usually face less drama, conflict, and stressful situations since they have clear boundaries, don’t let their rights violated and do not violate other people’s rights. They are more of a positive thinker so naturally they are surrounded with more positivity and have more energy to be productive.

9. They explore their options: They see more than one solution to a problem and find new and productive ways to deal with new problems as they arise. They also have a backup plan if the first solution does not work and can ask for support and advise when needed.

10. They have reasonable expectations: Good problem solvers have reasonable expectations as to what the solution would be. They understand that there are many elements effecting a situation and that idealistic ways of thinking and going about solving a problem will be counterproductive.

At the end, good problem solvers do not have too many irrational fears when dealing with problems. They can visualize the worst case scenario, work their way out of it and let go of the fear attached to it. Fear can make your logic and intuition shady and your decisions unproductive.

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