🧐

Problem Solving

115 STASHED IDEAS

People tend to exaggerate their role in a situation, but the exaggeration is not limited to egocentric individuals. Psychologists are discovering that a somewhat skewed view of reality is a universal trait that affects all people.

The reason we suffer from this cognitive bias is apparent: We are more aware of our own behaviours, causing us to view events from our own perspective. Our experiences are also more personally relevant and, therefore, easier to recall.

Maxwell D. (@maxwellad116) - Profile Photo

@maxwellad116

🧐

Problem Solving

The egocentric bias

The egocentric bias causes us to think that our own perspectives are more important when considering events, ideas, and beliefs. For example, we tend to overestimate the amount we contributed to a team project.

The bias can make it more challenging to understand other people's perspectives. It can cause us to misinterpret situations and make poor judgements.

  • Develop an awareness of the egocentric bias. It will help you to understand why people act in certain ways.
  • Explore alternative viewpoints. Viewing a situation from another person's perspective can reduce the effects of the egocentric bias.
  • Apply self-distancing language. Change from the first to the third person when describing a situation.
  • Ask for feedback instead of relying on your own perception of a situation. Ask your colleagues, friends, and family to tell you how they think you are doing.

Life offers us an unlimited number of ways to play, and our motive is to solve the inevitable obstacles and challenges which come at us, as with everyone else.

Just like chess, one has to see patterns, use logic, be systematic, fail, learn and keep moving.

Thinking hard doesn’t mean you will get a great solution. One might need to step away from the problem and do something else for a while. The brain continues to work in the background and an innovative solution may be unearthed by spending time on something unrelated. The solution can be trusted in most cases.

This incubation period provides us with a fresh spark of genius, as our brain gets a break from the task in focus. While just ten minutes could be enough, it works great if we sleep on the problem, giving the brain ample time.

Michael J. Gelb

“You can increase your problem-solving skills by honing your question-asking ability.”

Instead of rushing towards a solution, we need time to comprehend the problem, how it started, what is the root cause, and what is the actual effect. Redefine the problem until you find the hidden one.

Write down the process if possible, asking questions like what pattern is being noticed, the recurring factor, the initial time it happened among other questions. We need to find good analogies and connect the dots to get to the real answers.

A doctor listens to you and checks your body for symptoms, studying the problem and prodding you, investigating every element and source for any information or clue.

The same approach that is used by doctors and investigators has to be applied to find answers to the big and small problems of life.

If we break down our problem, it is half-solved already. A decision tree is a great tool to create a model of decisions with their consequences. It helps see the problem along with the larger picture, making new connections that move towards a solution.

Take down everything apart, analysing the cause and then finally executing the best plan.

Sometimes we may need to undo or rewind key actions and move from the end of the process towards the start. This reverse engineering makes the brain see patterns and details left unnoticed earlier.

It works when the initial portion of the problem is opaque.

Voltaire

“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.”

A problem can be approached creatively and with an open mind, resulting in many different scenarios and solutions put on the table. Thinking outside the box broadens the areas from which a solution can arise.

We need to erase the boundaries, the assumptions and take everything apart, starting from the first principle.

  • Focus on incremental improvements. Instead of aiming for the perfect solution, aim for a better solution. All these tiny improvements will compound, leading to massive changes over the long term.
  • Set intermediary deadlines. By setting intermediary deadlines, we can force ourselves to make tangible progress.
  • Keep your perfectionist mindset in check. Make time for self-reflection to understand why you are making certain decisions, or why you are not making progress on a specific project.

The Nirvana fallacy is built on faulty reasoning, where an argument assumes that a solution should be rejected because some part of the problem still exists after the solution is applied.

People that fall prey to the Nirvana fallacy assume that a perfect solution does exist. In those cases, the Nirvana fallacy is a mix of wishful thinking and black-and-white thinking.

The Nirvana fallacy

The Nirvana fallacy is a form of perfectionism and it consists in comparing existing solutions with ideal, unrealistic ones.

A false dichotomy is a thinking fallacy in which a statement wrongly assumes an either/or situation, when the two solutions are in fact compatible, or there is actually a third potential option.

With a map drawn, the next step is your itinerary. When you will start, how many days a week you will work and when you expect to reach key milestones.

Put everything in your calendar. Many people fail to realize how many other tasks might interfere with their project, such as an upcoming vacation or other deadlines. Scheduling it can also prepare you psychologically. For example, knowing that you will have to dedicate your evenings to a project for the next six months.

Planning should tell you what you need to do for today. Not next week. Not tomorrow. Today.

A step further is to commit to particular hours of the day. For example, I will exercise right after I finish work, before dinner.

Planning Is Extremely Valuable

Most people tend to be overly optimistic planners, but then the projects take much longer and more effort than initially thought.

Our inability at planning shows in how we tend to choose immediate over long-term rewards. Life is also complicated and what we need to do to have a better future is more complex. For example, to advance a career, you may need to acquire skills, apply for new jobs, or complete key projects. Each one requires considerable planning.

Break down everything you need to do to enable you to move forward on a project. Success requires a plan way more granular than most people make it.

For example, if your project is writing a novel, ask yourself what you're trying to do. Are you trying to reach out to a publisher, self-publish, or is it just for practice? How will you structure the story? Define the main plot? Fill out the character backgrounds?

The 10% rule states that you should spend roughly 10% of the total time you anticipate for a project on planning the project. The time spent planning is often the most valuable.

At first, set aside more time for planning. Force yourself to map out the path ahead instead of just doing.

Life Lessons from the Rubik’s Cube
  1. It is easier to create chaos than to create order. We prefer order, but creating it takes effort.
  2. Approaching order sometimes involves creating more chaos. Steps backward are often necessarily to move forward with integrity.
  3. You cannot resolve chaos all at once. Pick your battles. You cannot solve everything at once.
  4. Chaos is easier because there are more ways to be chaotic.
  5. To the uninitiated, systematic applications of complex patterns look like magic.

© Brainstash, Inc

AboutCuratorsJobsPress KitTopicsTerms of ServicePrivacy PolicySitemap