What do you do whenever you face a problem you have never dealt with before? Whatever your natural reaction is, chances are you do one of the following:
- Push it away.
- Ask for help or instruction.
- Postpone it.
- Do what you can do and leave the parts you don‘t understand.
What emotions do you experience when you face this yet unknown problem? Are you confused? Scared? Stressed? You might even feel resentful or outright angry. How likely are you to feel excited, though?
Have you met people who seem curious whenever life presents them with a challenge, excited even? They rarely seem stressed, confused, or scared when facing a new problem. It is as if they have some superpower that allows them to face any challenge calmly, effortlessly throwing at least a few possible approaches on the table right away.
What if they had a superpower indeed?
Oxford dictionary defines the ability to be good at finding ways of doing things and solving problems as resourcefulness. Resourcefulness is one of the most exciting skills to develop as it can critically impact your decision making. Embracing resourcefulness enhances the ability to master any uncertainty. Here are some benefits of resourcefulness.
Resourcefulness enhances efficiency
Stating the obvious – the ability to find solutions for problems increases the speed and quality of your output, be it professionally or in your personal life. Once you have gathered a variety of problem-solving options at your service, you can juggle, combine and mix them, use and reuse them in various combinations, just like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle.
Whenever you deal successfully with something you have not dealt with before, your self-confidence rises. You see your growth and recognise that you can do more now than you could a year ago, or two, or ten.
You strengthen your confidence by seeing yourself succeed where you wouldn’t think it were possible before. After several iterations, this process will start reinforcing itself – you will confidently approach any new challenge because of the confidence gained from the past successes.
Dealing with uncertainty
According to Simon Sinek, there is no such thing as the certainty of outcome. As a result, long-term success requires us to adjust to the changes, ready to allow uncertainty. Embracing uncertainty and finding opportunities in surprise can only be done if you are resourceful.
Resourcefulness develops flexibility and adaptability. It prepares you for any challenge that you might encounter. It equips you with confidence and expands your field of knowledge.
Resourcefulness improves fear and stress management
We experience fear and stress whenever we face something new and unknown. In my earlier articles, I have shared why conscious choice is the best fear and stress management tool. Resourcefulness enhances your ability to make conscious choices; it creates a solution library. I believe the most powerful choice in this library is the confidence to look for the solution even if you have never done anything like it. You can hardly be scared or stressed while being confident at the same time.
First-principles thinking is a problem-solving technique that requires you to break down a complex problem into its most basic foundational elements, ground yourself in the foundational truths and build up from there. Aside from being a super helpful problem-solving technique, first principles thinking is one of the best ways to learn to think for yourself and comes with many additional benefits.
At the core, learning resourcefulness is like constant brainstorming. It requires you to be open-minded and willing to see new possibilities where you previously recognised none. Indirectly, learning resourcefulness boosts creativity by lowering stress and fear levels, feeding curiosity and building confidence.
Resourcefulness improves communication skills
The simplest way to learn new things is to ask around. I encourage you to do so – because you cannot even imagine the vast amount of knowledge people around you hold. Not only will you learn some valuable practical tips and tricks, but you will also build up your communication muscle and grow your social circle. Asking for help comes with many side benefits, too.
One of the indirect consequences of embracing resourcefulness is that your world expands as you are exposed to new information, tools, skills and people. Through this experience, you grow and discover new perspectives, principles and even beliefs. You learn self-reflecting – a cornerstone of self-awareness.
Resourcefulness boosts empathy
Learning resourcefulness naturally boosts your ability to put yourself into someone else’s shoes through communication and brainstorming. The ability to understand different perspectives is one of the qualities responsible leaders share, and there are a lot of benefits of being empathetic.
The good news is that resourcefulness is a trainable skill. You learn it by directing your curiosity toward the yet unknown problem and figuring out ways to solve it. Another great way to practice resourcefulness is brainstorming and then reflecting on all the options you‘ve come up with. Brainstorming with others is even more efficient because it gives solutions that have been created by people who look at the problem from a different perspective. Practising first principles thinking is yet another way to learn resourcefulness and many other things.
After a while, you might even adopt resourcefulness as a mindset. Look at the world with curiosity and open-mindedness and ground yourself in the certainty of being able to deal with every situation. Being resourceful is not about knowing what to do in specific cases; it is about knowing that you will be able to find a solution once the need arises.