Solving Problems

The SWOT Analysis can be used to solve problems, and the best way to solve whatever problem is before us is by understanding our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. By organizing our thinking when it comes to the problems we have, the more likely we are to develop the best response to solve the problem.

All of us have problems, and most of the learning we receive in school is designed to better understand the world around us to respond to the problems we face. The disciplines through which we are taught include math, writing, reading, science, and social studies. If there weren’t problems to solve, these learning disciplines wouldn’t be necessary.

Math helps us to solve problems using numbers. Sometimes we count, and at other times we use formulas to arrive at the best answer. Most of the problems we solve with math are quantitative in nature, meaning we are trying to determine a number.

Writing helps us to record our observations of what the problem is so that others can use our written words to determine if the problem is solved and whatever the situation is that caused the problem is stable or not.

Reading allows us to interpret the written words of others to evaluate their methods of problem-solving to see how these would apply in our situations. Science and Social Study will contribute to the reading we do to solve problems.

Social Studies looks at problems around the world and how different cultures and societies have worked around their problems. We need to determine if their solution will work in our case or not.

Science has at its heart and core, the scientific method, which is a method of problem solving where the variable is isolated. By controlling the dynamics of how we see the problem using the scientific method, we are less likely to determine a wrong answer.

One overlooked strategy in completing a SWOT Analysis is using the education we have been given as a tool to determine workable solutions to the problem.

The SWOT Analysis

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are part of our life in everything we do.


When faced with a new situation or examining a current part of our life, the table below can be used to help us organize our thoughts.



a table with light blue lines with the words Strengths, Weaknesses on top left to right and on the bottom row Opportunities, Threats left to right



For instance, maybe you need to buy a car. You could use the table above to help organize your thoughts.


If making payments, is your ability to make a payment on time a strength or weakness. If this is a strength, you probably have a good credit score and if it is a weakness, your credit score probably needs help.


If you understand how to negotiate the price and terms of the deal, that is a strength. If you have never purchased a car or just agree with whatever the car salesperson says, price negotiation is a weakness.


If you know you have a good credit score, that will be a strength, and if you know that you have a poor credit score that will be a weakness.


If you qualify for a special discounted interest rate because of good credit, that could be an strength. If you have poor credit, high interest rates will add to the amount of money you have to pay each month and that could be a weakness.


A warranty could be a strength as you will have peace of mind when in comes to costly car repairs. The lack of a warranty could be a weakness. Would you have enough money to repair your car if it does not have a warranty?


The different choices in what type of a car you can buy can be your opportunities.


Driving yourself to a vacation destination can create leisure opportunities and the ability to drive yourself to work can create opportunities to take on a different job.


Threats with a car include any damage or harm you bring to the property of another person or to the person themselves. You mitigate this threat by driving responsibly and having the right type of auto insurance.


Other threats to a car could be theft of the car or damage to your car. You protect yourself by having the right type of auto insurance.


Insurance agents can help you understand what type of auto insurance you need. When buying a car, understand how much the insurance will cost before you buy the car. Insurance companies can give you a quote.


Another threat is the amount of money you will have to spend each month on things like the car payment, insurance, fuel or electric charging, and any maintenance repairs, which are typically not covered by car warranties-things like oil changes, new tires, wiper blades, etc.


You can use the table to organize your thoughts on any situation you face in life. The more you organize your thinking, the better decisions you will make.

Opportunities and Threats

Your potential is based in part on your strengths and weaknesses, and how you use these. It is also based on how you respond to opportunities and threats


Positive things that can improve your life are opportunities.


Negative things that can make your life hard are threats.


Not everyone has the same opportunities or threats in life. We all are different people with different strengths. Some opportunities are best for people with certain strengths, but all people have opportunities in their life, some much larger where everyone sees and some much smaller where it can even be hard for you to see.


The threats we have in our life are different from person to person. Some are easier to see and some are harder to see. Sometimes other people see threats (and opportunities) in our life before we do. Find these people and learn from them.


When considering the opportunities in your life, you also have to consider any threats that may come with these opportunities. When looking at any threats in your life, you have to consider if there are any opportunities that are much more than the opportunity. When you do this you are considering risk versus reward.


Most of the time in life, we will have opportunities and we will also have threats. We have to take advantage of the opportunities that make sense for us and avoid threats because threats make our life hard.


We all have opportunities and threats. Find your opportunities and stay away from threats.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Your potential is based in part on your strengths and weaknesses, and how you use these.


What are you good at? These are your strengths.


What is hard for you to do? These are your weaknesses.


Everybody is good at least one thing, if not many things, and everybody has at least one thing if not many things, that are hard to do. None of us is exactly the same, so what we are good at, what are strengths are, and what is hard for us, what our weaknesses are different for everyone.


It is important to know what you are good at and what is hard for you to do, because knowing this will help you make better choices in life, and the more you make better choices, the better your life will be, and the more you make poor choices, the harder your life will be.


Find things to do that draw on your strengths, those things you are good at. When you do these things with effort, you will have good results. Avoid doing things that you are bad at if you can, and if you still must do things you are bad at, think about how you can still do your best, even though it is hard.


Most of the time in life, we have to do things that partly draw on our strengths and partly draw on our weaknesses. We need to plan to do things so that we use more of our strengths and less of our weaknesses.


We all have strengths and weaknesses. Grow your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.