Troubleshooting Problems Study Guide
What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expected generally happens.
Benjamin Disraeli, British statesman and author (1804–1881)
Sometimes things can go wrong as you follow your plan for reaching a goal or solving a problem. Small, or even large, stumbling blocks may appear and try to stall your forward progress. This lesson is about anticipating and dealing with any pesky obstacles that get in your way.
Troubleshooting involves thinking ahead, spotting problems even before they surface, or preparing to take care of them if they do. You anticipate what might go wrong and keep it from happening or, if something does pop up, keep it from growing into a major problem by resolving it while it's a manageable size. By doing so, you deal with any setbacks that might block the path to your goal. You have to learn to handle everything from small annoyances to major obstructions in order to get where you want to be. So troubleshooting is kind of like building bridges over troubled waters!
Identifying Problems That Interfere with Goals
After you set a goal and begin working toward it, you will inevitably be faced with a roadblock or two. You learned in Lesson 1 that you can't solve problems without first recognizing and accepting them, and that holds true for troubleshooting problems that interfere with your goals. Some of these problems are foreseeable; that is, you can anticipate them before you even begin to work toward your goal. Others are unexpected and must be dealt with as they arise.
Identifying foreseeable problems takes work. You have to honestly assess your goal and think critically about what might need to be overcome so you can achieve it. You saw an example of this in Lesson 5 when Fran set a goal to get better grades. She noted that her habits of "too much socializing" and "poor study skills" stood in her way. So, even before she began to work toward getting better grades, she knew what she had to overcome in order to be successful. Both obstacles were not simple for her to overcome because they required breaking troublesome habits and acquiring new skills.
Strange as it may seem, unexpected problems are usually easier to spot, and often easier to solve. For example, you're doing research and need a particular book from your local library. When you go to get it, you discover all copies have been checked out. Or you run into an unforeseeable technology problem, such as a computer crash or a printer breakdown as you're trying to finish a report for a deadline. All these problems are relatively easy to solve. In the first case, you can ask the librarian to check other libraries for the book, or even pick one up in a bookstore, if the price is reasonable. For the technology problems, you could find temporary solutions like working from a backup disk on someone else's equipment.
Unexpected problems, by their nature, can't be planned for. You must simply figure out the best way to solve them quickly and thoroughly, and then get back on your path. The rest of this lesson focuses on troubleshooting forseeable problems.
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