Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Obstacles inspire to bigger thinking

Our brains are wired for efficiency (eg, Nautilus, Quanta). They excel in quick & dirty solutions to the very many decisions that have to be taken. Given a choice between complexity versus simplicity, the brain will opt for simple solutions. This choice is in accordance with Occam’s razor, a “problem-solving principle” (Wiki).

Sometimes, a problem is too complex for simple solutions. Usually, this happens when a problem has too many variables. In my view, all problems are mathematical equations. Defining the variables helps solving the equation. Applying likelihood and impact will further reduce the complexity of the equation.

Recently, I watched a Hallmark movie that featured this quote: Obstacles inspire to bigger thinking. It immediately caught my attention. I believe this quote to be true. Moreover, it fits the two paragraphs above.

Some obstacles appear too big to solve. There’s a useful phrase that helps solving those problems: slice the elephant, or eat an elephant one bite at the time. In my view, each bite or slice is a variable in the equation.

For many people, mathematics equals complexity (sic!). I’ve never been fond of mathematics. Nevertheless, we all use it without even realising it. In fact, mathematics is a (complex/simple) problem-solving method.

I don’t believe that you should approach obstacles “head-first“. In my view, it’s better to assess its magnitude first. Hence, think before you act, or look before you leap. The underlying motto is better safe than sorry.

Not all obstacles are permanent. Hence, it’s important to verify if a problem is restricted to a certain location and/or to a certain time frame (ie, Space Time dimension).

Some variables are more simple than others. Solve the easy ones first. This should reduce the overall complexity of the equation. If not, a reassessment of that equation might be required.

Do not aim for a perfect solution. Like the many quotes argue: perfection is not attainable. Once a problem is becoming manageable, it’s often good enough.

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”

A quote from Mrs. Warren’s Profession by George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), an Irish playwright.

Obstacles (2005) by Syd Matters a.k.a. Jonathan Morali
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2, Wiki-3

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by unless stated otherwise.


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