Communication and Problem Solving


Why is it that people who are living within the information age cannot seem to communicate on a fundamental level with people around them so they can understand what they are going through? Have you ever been in a situation where you have caught yourself saying, “why didn’t they just say something? It was obvious how to resolve the problem.” Yet all the time we cannot begin to understand why people are failing in talking to others in their inner circle. Then they get frustrated when nothing goes their way and blame everyone else who is around them for not helping in doing something to change the circumstances of their problem. Does this ring a bell to you? If it does then you may have encountered this type of person who doesn’t have the skill set to utilize the basic three steps to solving any problem. This three-step process is only good if a person communicates to another what they are feeling. If they fail to express themselves to the people around them, then how can anyone be able to know or understand how you are feeling inside? These three steps will be given to you and then a key example will be given of how to communicate if these steps cannot be taken to show others that in order to resolve any conflict or problems in their life we as people need to trust and speak to one another. The first step to resolving problems is to assess or process the information. Human beings brains are like a functioning super-computer. It gets viruses sometimes and has trouble computing the information due to the virus within us, pain. Pain, discomfort, and trauma are like a virus within our minds. It can paralyze you and cause your system to crash. If we are to understand what the problem is enough to identify how to solve it we need to first process what the information is that we are experiencing. Our thoughts, feelings, and actions can be used as a filter to sort out what the issue is by assessing the information we are seeing to first put the information into a memory bank where we can reference it from. Most of our failures in life come from perceived problems that we have not witnessed or encountered before. Successful people succeed by making references towards these failures so they do not occur again no matter if they are put into the same situation. This is key in assessing information in that once we identify what category to put the problem in we can begin the next step. The example will show people what to do when they cannot get past the first part of resolving issues, and it shows that these steps are an integral process to solving problems for anyone. Once we have properly assessed the problem, we can then begin critical thinking. This second step is used to focus on putting our problem into order. Critical thinking gets us to organize our problems around our habits so we can begin to set to analyzing how this is an issue for us to deal with, how it effects us, and what steps we form in order to resolve the conflict. Critical thinking is different for everyone. Some people are good at writing down their issues and making a list of questions to answer in order to best formulate a strategy to resolving the problem. Whatever is the best way for you, this step is all about the how to organize the strategy so you can then apply the third aspect to this process. The last step is solving the problem. We tend to put all the work into thinking how to solve the seemingly complex problems in our lives but realistically we fail at doing to small things it takes to resolve the problem once we have put all this work into formulating it. Humans are creatures of habits and if this type of problem solving isn’t within your process you may have just identified why you fail at most things you try, and how these issues are a constant source of pain for you. What is key about this third and final step is simple. As self help expert Jeff Olson says, “Do the thing and you shall have power.” Most people who are perpetual failures in life are victims of their own laziness. If you formulate a strategy to put a small habit into you daily routine to address you current problem you begin to take measured steps towards solving each day. It doesn’t happen overnight where we wake up one day and all of our painful issues have been resolved through a properly organized system. The system only works if you seek to put your plan of action into work. This last step is all about seeing how to put your best foot forward to nullify the problem before it gets to be an out of control wild fire burning all the relationship bridges you’ve built in your life.
The example to address what you must do when you can’t seem to get past the first step is simple: talk. If you are floored and can’t seem to think straight then all you need to do is communicate this to your inner circle. If you outsource this issue it can be solved from a perspective that is non-biased. I presently encountered a key problem for me that was centered around a profound trauma in my life. I’m in prison and a lot of my time in was sat in maximum security where I was subject to tremendous hardships. One of these such issues for me was being witness to numerous suicides. I have lost friends to this and it is a trigger for me to not think clearly once subjected to seeing this. I recently watched a mentally ill inmate be harassed and verbally abused by a guard to the point where he requested to talk to psychological services in order to cope with his illness. The officer refused to contact them and as a result the inmate grabbed a bottle of cleaning solution and drank it. How is it that a person would rather risk death to get what he wants in order to talk to someone about their issues? This is an extreme form of illness where a person doesn’t care about death as no one in their right mind would drink a solution that is in close relation to bleach. I witnessed this, and in the end watched as another officer came in on shift change and laughed along with him about the issue. All of this was a rude awakening for me as I worked tirelessly to earn the right to come to a medium security prison where violence and nonsense is less prevalent for people to see. All the trauma I suffered came rushing back to me and I was failing to cope with this. I was vocal about this to other inmates and to a person who is my salvation in my life: my fiancee Mandy. I spoke to her about this, as over a two day period this officer’s actions were getting worse to the point where he didn’t see us as people. I have been subjected to forms of this but was always able to network my way to process my pain. My current situation isn’t designed for speedy resolution of problems as most staff who are capable of resolving this nonsense do not come around often due to overcrowding of this prison. I relayed my displeasure to Mandy and I was very vocal about the issue that befell me. I was unable to assess anything as I didn’t have a good reference point from which I could relate to. Most in my situation were using negative attitudes and negative coping skills to process this failure to treat inmates with dignity and respect. I knew if I didn’t talk about it then the problem would only get worse for me. I did the only thing I knew to do: communicate. I spoke to Mandy about my inability to even think clearly due to my trauma from past experiences. She did what I couldn’t do as the first line of resolving problems in this prison I’m in is to resolve it with the officer first. How can I talk to someone who just denied a guy the ability to talk out his problems and thought it would help to drink a chemical in order to get a result? As you can see it was a lose situation no matter what I tried to do. Mandy did what she does best and seeks a resolution to problems by bothering someone to action. I say this with the most humble and caring of attitudes about her. If this call to the Warden’s office wasn’t made I wouldn’t have been able to speak to my unit supervisor the same day and begin a chain of events in order to hold accountable the officer who thought it would be a good idea to treat others with less respect than he demanded us to show him. Now he sees us differently as others in authority were put on notice about his actions and were able to hold him accountable when others complained without putting their pain into a place where it can be processed properly. The actions of a few looking from the outside in on a problem made all the difference for me in that they gave me relief to my trauma and started the three-step process for me to better understand why this was such a traumatic trigger for me. Communication for me is constant now where if I don’t communicate I rely on my past experiences to resolve the pain in my life. Whatever we as people seek to do we must always understand to that if we speak to people we can open doors to resolving issues we thought didn’t matter to us anymore as I thought I processed this years ago. Yet I cannot help to think that God gives us little moments like this to show us to be wise and seek to share our thoughts, feelings, and failures with each other so we can better work through our painful memories that come at us in ways yet to be experienced in life.

Dustin Harwick