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The Problem-Solving Mindset

The most successful entrepreneurs don’t accept defeat; they face challenges and fight until they turn their dreams and vision into reality. That is the difference between success and failures. The latter happens only when you give up.


This is the reason why I keep telling everyone who cares to listen that the key is persistence. I have erased “give up” in my dictionary. The idea of giving up is not in my DNA. When I ran for president in 2010, I could have sat out the elections when former President Cory Aquino died and the popularity of her son, Noynoy Aquino increased overnight. But I decided to stay in the race because I have never ran away from a fight in my life.

When I was bombarded with personal attacks after I narrowed the gap (some polls in fact showed me pulling ahead by one or two points), I could have thrown in the towel. But I don’t give up. Never.

In politics, business, and in life, I never run away from problems. I face all difficulties and I solve them. I am a problem solver. And this is a crucial skill to a successful life.
Problems—big or small—can be daunting. But the key is to always be prepared. Part of being a great problem solver is understanding how to evaluate each situation. Part of it includes knowing what the problem really is. The worse thing that can happen to you is attack a particular problem you are totally ignorant about. Imagine a mechanic deciding to fix your car without diagnosing what the problem is.

Another important skill great entrepreneurs possess is ability to make the right decision at the right time. After understanding the nature of the problem, you need to have the ability to sort out all the possible solutions, you must arrive at a decision quickly.

In my case, I have always valued the counsel of others—well, those people that I trust. My process is very simple: listen to everyone, study all the alternatives, and make my own decision. This means that I need to quickly evaluate all the solutions on the table and choose a particular path forward.

At the core of this problem-solving skill is the acceptance that you do not know anything. The worst thing that can happen is having a leader who thinks he is the sole source of knowledge. Understanding the fact that there may be others who are experts in dealing with particular issues will give you access to a treasure of information and advice that you can now evaluate as you make your own decision.

When I was in politics, and in my business, I have always relied on a small group of intelligent and committed people for advice. They are very good at their respective fields and provide valuable counsel. Sometimes I agree with them, sometimes I don’t, but I always value their opinion. This is very important: you may disagree but you need to respect them.
In other words, you may not know all the solutions to all the problems you will encounter in business but you need to have the skill of knowing where to find the solution. That is the key.

The problem-solving mindset is an important weapon for entrepreneurs. Problems will always show up on your road to success. Navigating these obstacles successfully demands problem-solving skills. And these skills are important not just in business but in politics and in general, your life.

Many people have approached and asked me about the secret to my success. And I always tell them there is no secret. The secret to success has been known since humans first developed solutions to the problems of existence and life. It is not a question of not knowing the secret but realizing where to look for them and having the determination and the skill to actually adopt them.


If you adopt this mindset then there is no problem you cannot find the solution to.




Manila Bulletin/Views/MannyVillar