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Think Like a Scientist: How to Solve Everyday Problems

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https://medium.com/kaizen-habits/think-like-a-scientist-how-to-solve-everyday-problems-64f7fcb2f5cf

medium.com

Think Like a Scientist: How to Solve Everyday Problems
"You can increase your problem-solving skills by honing your question-asking ability." - Michael J. Gelb Hurdles are disheartening, and they're often unavoidable. It happens to all of us. Even the most successful people you admire face obstacles everyday. Life is like a game of chess. There is an infinite number of ways to play.

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Systematic approach

Most people jump straight from finding a problem to attempting to solve it.

Having a systematic approach to how you deal with problems, as opposed to just going by gut and feelings, ca...

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Study the problem first

Detectives and investigators use the process. They ask both obvious and unthinkable questions.

Get close and collect information about how the problem is manifesting.  Understand ...

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Question for great answers

  • Don’t look for solutions immediately; Keep redefining the problem until you arrive at the root cause.
  • Don’t try to guess the solution; try to understand how the obstacles...

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Break the obstacle down

  • A problem broken down is half way solved. E.g: if you don’t have enough money to get a mortgage, you could divide the obst...

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A “could” mindset

In many situations when people encounter a problem, they tend to default to what they should do instead of asking what they could

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Don’t rush the thinking process

Concentrating harder won’t force that ‘eureka moment’ you need.

Instead, your best option might be to step away from the problems and get do somet...

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The power of the incubation period

For many years, scientists have found that amazing ideas, solutions to problems and obstacles often come to people when they aren’t actively trying to develop a solutio...

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Work backwards

Working backwards is useful when the final result is clear but the initial portion of a problem is obscure.

Reverse engineering al...

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It pays to sleep on it

In many cases, when you are tempted to stay up late to find a solution to an obstacle, you might be better sleeping on it.

The brain makes better connections when you are asleep,...

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First Principles Thinking

We normally use existing methodologies and analogies to solve problems, which is essentially short-cut thinking.
Engaging in 'First Principles Thinking' makes us discard existing knowledge, and get down to the essentials, exploring on our own and questioning everything. This uncharted terrain takes us to the absolute truth which we call the First Principle. When we understand the core of the problem, we can build creative and unique solutions.

    Using The First Principles Thinking

    The First Principles Thinking can be applied in our daily life:

    • Starting a business requires first principles thinking to build a fundamentally better product or service.
    • On a busy day, first principles thinking makes us do what's essential while not being bogged down with time constraints.
    • Applying the first principles toward good health will make us feel considerably better than obeying some diet or exercise routine that we hate.

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    Elon Musk

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    First principle vs. analog thinking

    • First principles thinking: actively questioning every assumption you think you know about a given problem or scenario  and then creating new knowledge and solutions from scratch. 
    • Reasoning by analogy: building knowledge and solving problems based on prior assumptions, beliefs and widely held ‘best practices’ approved by majority of people.

    Elon Musk's 3 steps Principle Thinking

    1. Identify and define your current assumptions;
    2. Breakdown the problem into its fundamental principles;
    3. Create new solutions from scratch.

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