Dixie Darr

In creativity on August 15, 2007 at 8:15 am

Other People’s Problems

“There is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.” Gore Vidal

Here’s an exercise I do in my classes. During a segment on time management or other problem areas, I break the class into teams of about 4 people each and give them sheets from a Post-It flipchart and colored markers. On the paper, they write one problem each person has regarding the topic.

Then they trade papers, so Team A has the list of problems from Team B and vice versa, and brainstorm possible solutions. Trading lists accomplishes a couple of things:

  1. Participants must state their problems clearly and succinctly. They do not have the opportunity to explain or give background information or tell their entire life history, as many want to do. They have to focus.
  2. During the brainstorming session, the person with the problem is not participating and therefore, cannot argue with the solutions by saying things like, “I already tried that” or “That will never work and here’s why.”
  3. If you are like me, you are frequently brilliant at solving other peoples’ problems. For your own problems, not so much.

Try it on your own by emailing a concisely stated problem to a group of four friends and asking for solutions. You may be surprised by the results.

© Copyright 2007 Dixie Darr. All rights reserved


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