In my work, I can be both solutions-oriented and obsessed with the details.
Often this can be a good thing. But sometimes, I find that this approach is way too limiting.
Let me give you an example. When I run into a problem, here is how my internal dialogue usually goes:
“Oh, shoot there is a problem.”
“Hmm. Ok, wait, I think we can solve it by using this tool.”
“Ok, and this is how technically that tool would work for this situation and how we would implement it.”
The problem is that in my haste to solve the obvious problem, I can overlook the root problem. Or even worse, I don’t take a moment to consider if the problem even needs to be solved.
Once I realized my tendency towards this behavior, I wrote in all-caps in my journal:
"THINK DEEPLY ABOUT THE PROBLEM YOU ARE SOLVING BEFORE YOU THINK BROADLY ABOUT THE WAYS IT CAN BE SOLVED.
AND THINK BROADLY ABOUT THE WAYS A PROBLEM CAN BE SOLVED BEFORE YOU THINK DEEPLY ABOUT ANY ONE SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM.”
It’s the difference between a doctor that jumps to prescription medicine versus a holistic approach to healthcare.
Once your brain is in problem solving mode, it's hard to get back into problem understanding mode.
And If you start thinking about solutions before you fully understand the depth of the problem and its impact, your solution might fall short of solving for all the impacts of that problem.
Not to mention that once you start thinking specifically about one solution, it can be hard to think more broadly about what the other available solutions are.
Now that I know that this is my default mode, I realize even more the need to take a pause before reacting to a problem — to think deeply before thinking broadly before thinking deeply again. It’s made all the difference.
How do you react when you’re faced with a problem?
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