Let’s face it, the world is full of Pessimistic people. Bookstores are filled with self-help books that try to mould us into being more optimistic about things. While having a positive attitude is an unquestionable factor in being happy, there are certain types of things that you can’t always afford to be optimistic about. As much as it would be nice for everything to just “work” you have to expect that in the Pro AV industry you are going to have to troubleshoot problems, which seem like a negative thing. Eventually you will come to realize that dealing with technical problems is a fact of life really and is not inherently negative. Realizing this can really change your perspective on how to deal with issues as they arise.

Approaching technical situations assuming everything will work perfectly is not only unrealistic, it can set you up for failure if there are any hiccups along the way. This statement, although pessimistic, is actually a totally different concept than just being optimistic vs. pessimistic. Our approach to dealing with technical problems will help you to become optimistic that you can solve problems and get things working. Allowing for the possibility of things not working right away will help you avoid some of the mental roadblocks that will undermine your technical skills.

Don’t get Frustrated

Frustration can be the single most opposing force that you will deal with on a daily basis. Once things start going wrong and you allow yourself to get frustrated, you loose the ability to think logically about the situation. Your critical thinking skills are the tools you need to solve problems. Allowing these to be compromised will detract from your ability to solve the problem. If you do sense yourself getting frustrated, one of the best things that I have found is to walk away from the problem for a couple of minutes to regain your focus. This will allow you to clear your head and help you focus on the “big picture” of the project rather than the individual component that has you stuck.

It’s not your fault it doesn’t work

Technical minded people like to get things right. They pride themselves on knowing how to put things together and when something goes wrong, it is easy to start blaming yourself for not being able to make things work. If you entertain these thoughts in your mind, you will sabotage any effort you make to resolve the issue at hand. Even if there is something that you directly messed up, focusing on this will affect your ability to actually resolve the problem.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

This is your backup plan and could be a combination of your boss, co-workers, other colleagues in the industry, or manufacturers. Having this external resource will give you access to a wealth of knowledge from people who have been successful at solving the problem you are having. Reaching out to them will get the issue taken care of faster, and in the most professional manner. A lot of people think that asking for help is giving up, but allowing yourself to learn from others is a powerful way to expand your knowledge base.

Last resort

Sometimes if you still can’t resolve the problem it is best to come back another day. Spending a bit of time thinking about a challenging issue without being stressed out can be very helpful in the troubleshooting process. You may also find it easier to ask questions and conduct research while being offsite. If you do use this approach, the key is to have a plan of action when you set foot on the site next.

If you don’t allow for the fact that things may not go according to plan, you may actually hinder the ability to correct things when they do veer off course. Just remember that technical systems don’t always go together perfectly the first time.

Your Thoughts?

What about you? What have you learned that helps you to approach problems in a different way? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

About the author

Dustin has been involved in the Professional Audio Visual industry for over 20 years, working for integrators both big and small. Learning the ropes through many years of trial, error, and firsthand experience, Dustin is passionate about creating resources to help share the knowledge that he has obtained the "hard" way.

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