Book Freak #20


How to solve problems

In this issue of Book Freak we present tips about how to solve problems, from the book The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking by Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird

Occasionally go back to the basics
“In everything you do, refine your skills and knowledge about fundamental concepts and simple cases. Once is never enough. As you revisit fundamentals, you will find new insights. It may appear that returning to basics is a step backward and requires additional time and effort; however, by building on firm foundations you will soon see your true abilities soar higher and faster.”

Plan to fail
“The next time you face a daunting challenge, think to yourself, “In order for me to resolve this issue, I will have to fail nine times, but on the tenth attempt, I will be successful.” This attitude frees you and allows you to think creatively without fear of failure, because you understand that learning from failure is a forward step toward success. Take a risk and when you fail, no longer think, “Oh, no, what a frustrating waste of time and effort,” but instead extract a new insight from that misstep and correctly think, “Great: one down, nine to go—I’m making forward progress!” And indeed you are. After your first failure, think, “Terrific, I’m 10% done!” Mistakes, loss, and failure are all flashing lights clearly pointing the way to deeper understanding and creative solutions.”

Before getting started, make sure you are asking the right question
“Sadly, many people spend their entire lives focusing on the wrong questions. They may pursue money, when they really want happiness. They may pursue the respect of people whose favor is really not worthy of being sought. So before you succumb to the temptation to immediately spring to work on the answer, always stop and first ask, “What’s the real question here?” Often the question that seems obvious may not be the question that leads to effective action.”

Book Freak is one of four newsletters from Cool Tools Lab (our other three are the Cool Tools Newsletter, Recomendo, and What’s in my bag?).