The art of problem-solving skills: how I found a diver to pull a phone sunk in the lake

Whenever you want to apply for a scholarship or job position, work in a team or become a part of a conference, it is always required to have problem-solving skills. “Why do they even mention this? If there is a problem, you go and solve it, is that a big deal?”, you may think, and I understand you; I used to think the same way and completely underestimate the value of this skill until my first meeting with the diver happened. 

28th of June was an ordinary Wednesday, except that it happened to be the Eid Celebration in our country, so everyone had a day off. Me and my sister decided to make good use of this day and scheduled several places to visit. First, we went to have lunch in the restaurant we wanted to visit near Lake Terrenkur (which translates as Health Path) in the countryside. After a wonderful lunch, we still had about an hour till the next spot – the performance in the theatre- so unanimously, we walked towards the lake.

There was a little bridge in the middle of the lake from where the breathtaking landscape could be seen: iridescent water, a swimming family of geese, and people around the lake, chit-chatting and having picnics. My sister was standing near the edge of the fence, and because of the abrupt hand movement, her telephone fell into the lake. We were silent for the next few seconds as it was hard to proceed: her brand new smartphone fell into the freezing cold water several meters deep. Neither of us can swim but even if we did, it was nearly impossible for an unprepared swimmer to dive that deep. My sister succumbed to emotions and started panicking. She was mainly horrified not because of the phone itself but the information contained in it: she is a tax consultant, so everything work-related, personal information of clients, database, and her accounts as well were at risk. I also felt the sudden rush of anxiety coming in, but almost immediately I tried to calm myself by asking: if both of us are going to stress, then who is going to solve the problem? 

When I realized that it was just a veil of negative attitudes crushing my brain and that this issue could be solved, it became much easier for me to think soberly. It was clear that we and people nearby could not help us, so I searched for a professional diver on Google. The search list was extremely limited: most divers were unavailable due to the holiday. After almost half an hour of searching, I finally found a diver who was ready to come and help. Despite being almost 30 kilometres away from our location, I asked for his service since it was the only option at that moment. When I told my sister about everything, she started to rumble: “What about our other plans? I am sure the phone is already sunk so there is no point in waiting hopelessly. The diver’s service is expensive too, so why do we even need him if the phone is broken?”. I stopped her by saying that if her phone, even completely non-working, would be with her instead of being deep in water in a public place, she would be calmer. On this, we stopped arguing and waited patiently for the diver.

Almost two hours later, the diver finally came and started to adjust his equipment. Everyone around us looked amusedly and started to record his movements. He quickly plunged into the water and, to everyone’s shock, pulled out a switched-on(!) phone. My sister and I did not expect it at all, so she started to cheer. After taking the phone, we shut it off as the frame was still full of water and needed proper examination. We thanked the diver for his immediate response and help and went to the car.

Again, because of the holiday, almost all service centres were closed, so we went back home to manually dry the phone as first aid. While already sitting in the car, humming to the pop song from the radio, I realized that the driving power in this situation was my ability to quickly adapt, blunt the emotional part of my brain and search for possible answers. In a word, problem-solving skills. I never analyzed the situations that happened to me, so it was complicated to find meaning in this act. I guess it indeed was a problem-solving skill then. To be honest, I do not think that I fully aced this skill; no, it is more likely to depend on the situation and the person whom I am with. But the fact that I analyzed my behaviour later and made conclusions and suggestions about what I could do better helped me understand myself better.

So, key points to note from this day:

  • Never again in the world come close to water with a phone in hand.
  • Try to analyze your actions and thoughts at the end of the day. 
  • Hopefully, someone got food for thought (or had fun, at least) from this embarrassing yet amusing story.

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