Problem Finding/What do you really want

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—Reflecting on the call to action

Problem finding begins by asking the question “What do you want?” Often our initial call to action may be vague, impulsive, unwise, or misdirected. This list of questions can help explore and reassess these nascent urges to discover a wise goal worth pursuing.

Use this list of questions to explore and reassess the motivations for addressing this problem.

The key reassessment questions are: “What do you want to have happen?” and “What is at stake?”

Begin by stating the desired end state—the outcome, goal, or result—and then reflect on the following questions.

  1. What do you want? (What do you want to have happen?)
    1. What are your goals?
      1. What are your needs?
      2. What are your preferences?
      3. How did this goal originate?
        1. Is this your idea?
        2. Did someone else suggest this to you?
        3. Did some event, experience, insight, feeling, or new information bring this goal to mind?
    2. Are you focusing on what matters?
  2. What is at stake?
    1. Is this important?
    2. Why is this important?
    3. Is this important to you or to someone else?
    4. What are your fears?
      1. What is being threatened?
      2. Are your fears physical?
      3. Are your fears psychological?
        1. Does shame play a role?
        2. Does humiliation play a role?
    5. What opportunities does this create?
    6. What needs does this address?
      1. What physiological needs are at risk?
        1. Does this risk your survival?
      2. What psychological needs are at risk?
        1. How will this affect your prestige?
        2. How will that affect your autonomy?
        3. How will this exercise or challenge your competency
        4. How will this affect your relationships with others?
  3. How have your answered the Phoenix Checklist questions?
    1. How has the phoenix checklist helped to better understand this problem?
  4. Are the assessments based on true beliefs?
    1. How do you know?
  5. What outcomes are preferable? Why?
  6. What outcomes are undesirable? Why?
  7. Why is it wise to choose this outcome?
    1. Why is this important?
    2. Who wants this outcome?
    3. Who does not want this outcome?
  8. Why do I want this outcome?
  9. What alternative outcomes would also be suitable?
  10. Where is this on the causal chain?
    1. Is this a symptom, a root cause, or one of many contributing causes?
    2. What effects are caused by this?
    3. What are other contributing causes?
    4. What causes this?
  11. Can we create more possibilities?
    1. What thinking tools can help?
  12. What alternative outcomes would be better?
  13. How do you know?
  14. Why?
  15. What's the problem?
  16. What's the real problem?
  17. What's the problem really?
  18. How do you know?