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A universal way to solve problems, from a mathematical genius

Fully Understand A Problem

We are normally tackling a problem by straight away jumping towards an answer, which is a wrong methodology. We need to find the fundamental issue, developing an intuition for what we are operating on. 

Prune the unimportant stuff and find the foundation: the trick is to eliminate the inessential from the problem to enter the core that will escort us towards a solution.

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A universal way to solve problems, from a mathematical genius

A universal way to solve problems, from a mathematical genius

https://qz.com/1365059/a-universal-way-to-solve-problems-from-a-mathematical-genius/

qz.com

5

Key Ideas

Solving Problems

Problems have to be understood fundamentally before they are to be solved.

A problem may not just be a question requiring an answer but may require a process, and a methodology to see what cannot be seen easily.

Fully Understand A Problem

We are normally tackling a problem by straight away jumping towards an answer, which is a wrong methodology. We need to find the fundamental issue, developing an intuition for what we are operating on. 

Prune the unimportant stuff and find the foundation: the trick is to eliminate the inessential from the problem to enter the core that will escort us towards a solution.

Shake The Problem

Once we find the true form of a problem, we are halfway towards a solution.

  • Creatively reshaping and restructuring a problem makes us look at it from different angles, and provides us valuable knowledge about the problem and the possible solution.
  • Analyzing why a solution would work and why another solution will not work is also essential to get into the right pathway of the best solution.

Multiplying Minds

Analyzing a problem and finding a solution isn't just about a theoretical, quantitative understanding; it requires a creative and expansive mindset to multiply the information.

Having a good idea to solve a problem isn't enough and true genius consists of finding an out-of-box solution that may be simple and profound.

Good Problem Solving

Identifying and attacking a problem is a complex and three-dimensional process.

It takes both critical and creative thinking to effectively solve a problem.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Intelligence is not genius

Genius is not about having an extraordinarily high IQ, or even about being smart. It is not about finishing Mensa exercises in record time or mastering fourteen languages at the age of seven.

Geniuses and problem solving

Leonardo da Vinci believed you begin by learning how to restructure the problem by looking at it from many different angles.

In order to creatively solve a problem, the thinker should not use the usual approach that is based on past experience. Geniuses use several different perspectives to solve an existing problem and thereby also identify new ones.

Making your thoughts visible

Galileo revolutionized science by making his idea visible with diagrams, maps, and drawings. Einstein believed that words and numbers as they are spoken did not play a significant role in his thinking process.

Geniuses seem to develop a skill to display information in visual and spatial forms, rather than only mathematical or verbal lines. 

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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...

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 where the problem does and doesn’t happen, when the problem started, and how often the problem occurs to generate critical insight for the problem-solving effort.

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, or challenges manifest first.
  • Gather data to analyze all potential root causes.
  • Consider all options, regardless of how irrelevant they currently appear.
  • Find a way to connect the dots. Make better analogies. One good analogy is worth three hours of discussion.

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Elon Musk

"Well, I do think there’s a good framework for thinking. It is physics. You know, the sort of first principles ..."

Elon Musk

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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