Improve your Problem Solving and Decision Making skills – Part2

Problems manifest themselves in many forms and can crop up unexpectedly. They can be major or minor problems and when they surface, how do we react and deal with them? Well these are basically the steps that pilots take to deal with them that we can use to deal with life problems as well.

React to the situation

When there is a problem, the first thing that pilots do is to react to the problem by taking control of the situation, which is to fly the aircraft and to have the aircraft safely under control. Likewise when faced with a problem in our life, the first thing that we need to do is to remain calm and take control of the situation. Remain focused with what we are doing and our purpose in life and always remember our goals or our final destination.
Do not try to solve the problem immediately, and do not be overwhelmed by it.

Analyse the problem

The next thing that pilots do is to analyse the problem to determine what sort of problem it is. They categorise problems into procedural or operational problems. Procedural problems are problems that are easier to handle. They have set rules and checklists that the pilots have to follow in order to solve the problem.

In life these are simple problems that we have experienced before or it could be someone else’s problems that were shared with us and therefore we could use the same template or we could modify or create our own template in solving similar problems.

Operational problems are complex problems that do not have any checklist or set procedures to solve them. The types of problems are not clearly defined at first glance and that is why we need to remain calm at first and to clearly define the problem before coming up with the various options and solutions.


Once the pilots have generated a few options they then act on it. This is the easiest thing to do, however before they could act on it, they would have gone through each and every option, looking at the pros and cons and asking what if’s. A similar concept can be applied when faced with problems in life. We have to look at the various options that are available to us and to evaluate each and every one of them and come up with the most optimal, under the circumstances.


After selecting the most optimal option based on the circumstances then, the pilots do not just sit and wait for the outcome. They will continue to review their actions, as any new information received could invalidate their earlier decision and when this happens they would have to start all over again, that is to re-analyse the problem by looking for more information and generating new options and solutions based on the latest information. This will go on till the flight arrives at the destination.

Likewise with life’s problems, after acting on it, we have to constantly review our decision, look for new and fresh leads or information that could invalidate our earlier decision. This phase will have to be repeated on a regular basis until the problem is overcome.

Written by Azharuddin Osman

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