The exercise of personal agency is aided by the ability to predict and manage the logical consequences of one’s actions (consequential thinking), together with the cultivation of self-awareness and insight. Young people’s beliefs about problems are implicated in the ability to solve them effectively. Young people who believe that ‘problems are natural’ counteract the general tendency for problems to be seen as bad and something to feel anxious and guilty about. The view that ‘most problems can be solved’ counteracts the tendency to give up before attempting to solve problems. Young people can develop an aptitude to:

  • Defining a problem objectively in solvable terms
  • Generate set of alternative solutions
  • Evaluate the solutions against a set of criteria for likely effectiveness
  • Make a decision and implement a solution;
  • Verifying the effect of the solution (Bedell & Lennox, 1997).