Life Before SHTF Was a Problem But It’s Getting Worse, by Old Bobbert

Okay, the title about life getting worse says it all. We need newer methods, procedures, styles, and formulas– stuff about problem solving. We need new ways to look at finding workable solutions to new people problems, new situations, new limitations, new responsibilities, and new rules of survival. And we, all of us, especially need new ways to maintain our sanity in the insane world of post-SHTF, and we need it in advance and in full measure.

New Needs

Yes, it is possible that you already have all these new needs in your fully stocked and tagged kitchen pantry. But I don’t. Sure, I can wing or sling some pretty hefty prepper stuff, “Bravo Sierra”, as may be needed in polite conversation with anxious newbie preppers, but that is not gonna get the job done in the future, not even for Old Bobbert himself.


I’m sure that you know about questions. They are carried inside those sentences that start with words such as “who, why, how, where, when, or what”. They are those troublesome words that actually require serious work and corrective thinking and are often tightly, and usually painfully, connected to “please” and “thank you”.

Problem Solving Super Subtopics

See the partial super subtopics list below. These are the actual links to their subject matter. Remember to take notes and “be quick to go slow” in your problem solving. We all do the same tasks a little differently, based on our needs, talents, and experience. And our personal methods that work for us are perfect. Above all, smile at difficult occasions and go easy on yourself as you repair and restart a specific task, again!

Google Search on “Proven Methods of Problem Solving”

My Google search results are based on the following wordage: “Proven methods of Problem Solving” All of the Google pages and content is as originally published by Google publishing, except for minor partitioning and selected extractions or to fit formatting criteria within this article.

  1. The Scientific Method of Problem Solving
  2. The 4 Most Effective Ways Leaders Solve Problems – Forbes
  3. Why Focusing on the Problem Is Not Going to Give You the Best Solution
  4. Professional Help: 5 Strategies for Creative Problem Solving – The Atlantic Daily
  5. How To Use Structured Problem Solving | Project Management Hacks
  6. The 10-Step Process to Solve Any Problem – Brian Tracy

Special Topics

We also have these next three special topics for our slower folk. You will need to search these for yourselves without my help using the following keywords:

  • Problem Solving Methods
  • Creative Problem Solving – Destination Imagination
  • Teach Problem Solving to Kids – 8 Steps

Article Goal- Bait You to Learn For Yourself

The specific goal of this article is to present to you a well rounded, concise, “partial” piece of usable and pertinent information as desirable bait. Fundamentally, we want you to want to learn for yourself by yourself.

I believe that a smooth written selection will entice you to dive in and swim among the many correct answers and methods of problem solving so that you will be the successful master of your trip into tomorrow’s SHTF new life.

So now we go to work. Good luck! We will begin with #1 above.

#1: The Scientific Method of Problem Solving

The basic steps of the scientific method include “state the problem”. A problem can’t be solved if it isn’t understood. Next is “form a hypothesis”. This is a possible solution to the problem formed after gathering information about the problem. The term “research” is properly applied here. There are a total of six important steps just for you within this method of problem solving.

#2: The 4 Most Effective Ways Leaders Solve Problems – Forbes

Transparent communication problem solving requires transparent communication where everyone’s concerns and points of view are freely expressed. I’ve seen one too many times how difficult it is to get to the root of the matter in a timely manner when people do not speak up.

Transparent communication requires you to break down silos and enable a boundary-less organization whose culture is focused on the betterment of a healthier whole.  Unnecessary silos invite hidden agendas rather than welcome efficient cross-functional collaboration and problem solving.

#3. Why Focusing on the Problem Is Not Going to Give You the Best Solution

You don’t have to be super smart to be a problem solver; you just need practice. Most people believe that you have to be very intelligent in order to be a good problem solver, but that’s not true. When you understand the different steps to solve a problem, you’ll be able to come up with great solutions. The steps are:

  1. Focus on the solution – not the problem. Neuroscientists have proven that your brain cannot find solutions if you focus on the problem. This is because when you focus on the problem, you’re effectively feeding “negativity”, which in turn activates negative emotions in the brain. These emotions block potential solutions.I’m not saying you should “ignore the problem”– instead try and remain calm. It helps to first acknowledge the problem and then move your focus to a solution-oriented mindset where you keep fixed on what the “answer” could be instead of lingering on “what went wrong” and “whose fault it is”.
  2. Adapt 5 Whys to clearly define the problem. By repeatedly asking the question “why” on a problem, you can dig into the root cause of a problem, and that’s how you can find the best solution to tackle the root problem once and for all. (And it can go deeper than just asking why for five times.) For example: If your problem is that you’re always late to work…

You will like what’s next here. Check it out online.

#4. Professional Help: 5 Strategies for Creative Problem Solving

In this online article on creative problem solving, we read:

  • Think beyond an object’s common function. Break an item into all of its parts and, if any of your descriptions imply a function (e.g., a prong is for transporting electricity), describe it more generically by its size, shape, and material make-up (e.g., small, flat, rectangular piece of metal). Calling something the prong of an electric plug may hide the fact that it can also become a screwdriver in a pinch. If the passengers of the Titanic saw the iceberg as a large floating surface rather than something that hits ships, many could have possibly used it as a lifeboat since it certainly wasn’t going to sink.
  • Frame your goals carefully. If you state your objective as “adhere one surface to another that is hard to stick things to,” then you’ve already severely limited your scope to “sticky” solutions that require a chemical process. To illustrate, we created a “magnetic sandwich” solution where the new surface had enough metal in it to make it stick through the no-stick surface to the magnet. We wouldn’t have reached this solution if we had stuck with the poorly articulated goal, since it is magnetic (not chemical) and involves three surfaces (not two) where the two surfaces sticking to each other were not in direct contact.
  • Broaden your associations. If you ask people to list out the ways to fasten two things together, they will probably come up with about eight. But if you look up the more specific synonyms of the verb “fasten” in a thesaurus, you will find at least 60 ways — buckle, clip, velcro, glue, tie, weld, sew, clamp, staple, etc. A thesaurus not only assists writers but also expands the associations of problem solvers.
  • Try the TRIZ methodology. (Go to the website and check it out personally. The Russian idea worked.)
  • Don’t fixate on known designs. We tend to focus on the features used in familiar solutions when trying to be innovative, but novel designs are most often based on obscure features.

#5. How To Use Structured Problem Solving | Project Management Hacks

Why should I use structured problem solving? Using a disciplined problem solving method is useful in several circumstances. Consider using this process when facing a situation that meets some or all of the criteria below:

If you face a new problem that initially baffles you and defies solution, look into using a structured process to address the situation. Certain problems, such as those involving weak skills or difficult people, trigger stress feelings. Emotion does help in motivating you to act. Unfortunately, emotion does not tend to generate specific solutions. High risk problems have the potential to cause significant damage to your organization and career if you do not take action. If a given problem directly undermines your ability to achieve success on a priority goal, then it makes sense to apply some additional resources on solving the problem.

Ultimately, you will have to use your professional judgment to decide whether and how to apply this scenario. If you are just getting started with this process, I suggest using it on a small problem first. That way, you can build confidence in using the strategy.

Use these six steps in sequential order to gain the best results in solving complex and important problems:

  • Step 1: Identify the problem. At this stage, you are defining the scope of the problem you have to solve. Points to consider at this stage include problem origin (if known), problem impact (e.g. on customers, on staff or reputation) and timeline to solve the problem.
  • Step 2: Structure the problem. Putting the problem into a clear structure for analysis is one of the great insights that consultants and MBA graduates bring to their work. What does it mean to structure a problem? It means identifying the important issues.

(For further information, look online at the link.)

#6. The 10-Step Process to Solve Any Problem – Brian Tracy

When you are faced with a problem, how do you go about solving it? Do you let it overwhelm you or do you flex your problem-solving muscles and figure out the best solution?

People who throw themselves at their problems often become frantic and confused. They take a haphazard approach to thinking, and then they are amazed when they find themselves floundering and making no progress.

The 10-Step Creative Problem Solving Process

You can use this 10-step method to think systematically.

With this method, you develop your critical thinking and problem solving techniques to genius levels.

  1. Change Your Language About The Problem From Negative To Positive. Instead of using the word problem, use the word situation or call it a challenge or an opportunity.
  2. Define The Situation Or Problem Clearly. What exactly is the challenge you are facing? What is causing you the stress and anxiety? Why is it causing you to worry? Why are you unhappy? Write it out clearly in detail.
  3. Use Critical Thinking To Approach The Problem From Several Different Directions. Ask, “What else is the problem?” Don’t be satisfied with a superficial answer… Look for the root cause of the problem rather than get sidetracked by the symptom. Brainstorm different solutions…
  4. Clearly Define The Ideal Solution To The Problem. What exactly must the solution accomplish? … Define the parameters clearly.
  5. Pick The Best Solution To Solve Your Challenge… What is the best thing to do at this time under the circumstances?
  6. Prepare For The Worst Possible Outcome And How To Overcome It. Before you implement the decision, ask, “What’s the worst possible thing that can happen if this decision doesn’t work?” If your solution doesn’t work, be ready to accept that and try something else.
  7. Measure Your Progress. Set measures on your decision. How will you know that you are making progress? …
  8. Take Complete Responsibility For Your Decision…. Many of the most creative ideas never materialize because no one is specifically assigned the responsibility for carrying out the decision.
  9. Set A Deadline For When Things Should Be Solved. A decision without a deadline is a meaningless discussion…
  10. Take Action And Solve Your Problem….

Good luck in our new old world!

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been another entry for Round 74 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value), and
  8. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by,
  7. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
  6. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (a $240 value).

Round 74 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


  1. I learned from my 30 plus years working in a gated community that meetings are the key.
    A recent change, some would say evolution, has shown more meetings, solve problems. Getting the job done is left to those with actual knowledge and skills. The work usually happens while the problem solvers are in the meetings. We were usually done and moving on to the next “problem” before they got to their first coffee break.
    Old Bobbert you sound like a guy who may know something….one thing I know is you have a great sense of humor.

    1. Lee, you have a Point!
      Although there is said to be a way to find out how effective a Committee will be…
      1. Find the I.Q. of the brightest person on the committee.
      2. Divide that by the number of people ON that committee!
      This usually equates to a life-form with more legs than I.Q. points!
      God bless..

  2. Huh?

    I thought Problem solving 101 was the prelim to any reasonable prepping effort. The only thing I see changing is I’m getting older, slower, and in pain a lot more than I used to be. I suppose some might claim I am getting smarter, but that’s just teaching the monkey not to grab the hot pan handle, aka that which don’t kill us will leave a scar we won’t soon forget.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. You want different, get off the merry go round.

  3. Good to excellent article. My one caveat is to NOT use Google(r) for your search engine. If you want anonymity (think OPSEC) and you still want Google(r) results, use a meta search engine like Ixquick / Startpage or DuckDuckGo. They will submit your search request under Their IP and and not yours.

  4. When the grid dies, I doubt anything Google or anyone else has on you won’t do “them” much good. Committees, in my experience, are less agile and effective than a person on a mission with clear goals and planning. I know professionals who have been waiting for over 30 years for the gubment to create an effective civil defense. We saw the results of that in Hawaii. Sewers.

  5. In the present world the problem is not solving the problem, it is finding agreement that the different parties involved wish to solve the problem and what the desired solutions are. The present dis functional US government is a perfect example of that. The present funding of the government is being held hostage to differing goals and the real problem that they wish to solve is who will win the next set of elections and the posturing by the individuals involved for the presumed leadership of that outcome. While there be many techniques used in problem solving, you must first establish that the participants want to solve it and if TSHTF that may indeed be the crucial problem. While Mr Browning may well have came up with the perfect machine gun, there seems to be no such perfect solution in our social, political, racial, religious, etc, viewpoints, nor any willingness to compromise. Some of the problems we face today, religious, conflicts between states, economic, go back for many hundreds of years and we are no closer to a solution now than any other time and they are in fact most likely to bring on the crisis we all fear..

  6. It just seems to me that your contributions are more trying to win the writing prize that really providing helpful info. Your logic just goes round and round. Sorry, not trying to flame anyone just stating my opinion FWIW…

      1. Judging another persons’ motive is so far above my pay grade …

        That said, if I, or, one other person, gets one bit of wisdom, understanding, or knowledge from Old Bobbert’s lifelong learnings, musings and ramblings – then that is a good day.

  7. Great article!

    If the first step of problem solving is to identify the problem then it makes sense to me why we have so many problems. :]

    Many people are blind to problems. Either that, or they refuse to look at the problem with an honest eye.

    1. Maybe it’s just that some of us have been “trained” to feel helpless in the face of problems. “One person can’t make a difference.” “You’ll just have to learn to live with it.” “It’s always been that way.” “Just throw it away and get a new one.”
      How many times have you heard those memes?

    2. The issue is that people spend a lot of time and effort solving the wrong problem. That’s why correctly identifying the problem is important. I’d recommend looking into the Military Decision Making Process. MDMP is a structured problem solving system. It takes some time and energy, and it works best in a collaborative setting, but it is both efficient and effective when used correctly.


    1. I think there is real merit to your article. In every “retreat”, no matter how small or how large, people will have issues… issues are problems to a degree. How people deal with issues, will make all the difference. Your points are well taken here my brother. I appreciate what you posted, and frankly, never read articles with the idea one or another is focused on winning. Rarely does one stand out greatly. Maybe because there are so many great articles I’m spoiled. Excuse me, WE are spoiled. You went right to the top in this article. How a “leader”, or a group, handles the big and small problems could be anywhere from saving lives, to saving toilet paper. And who’s to say………. God bless, seventy seven years of solutions goes a long way.

  9. sorry old bobbert………….your article is,well, just too long and convaluted, not trying to put you down, but please ……you could have said more with less words couldn’t you ? trust me, it’s more readable.

    1. Well, that’syour opinion, Tom. I happen to enjoy Bobbert’s style. But then, I’ve read many of the old classics, written at a time in history when long descriptions of things was common. Nowadays people are “too busy” to read that style of writing and prefer everything in just bullet points. That’s the way I have to write to my clients at work. So, you’re welcome to your opinion, and I have mine. but neither of our opinions are adding to the knowledge base in the comment section.

  10. Identify the problem. List solutions and probable outcomes. Try listed solutions and obtain feedback on outcomes. The three step problem solving method. Cut to the chase and get it done.

Comments are closed.