System Problem Solving

With working backwards however, you start with your goal state and use it to suggest connections back to your current state.

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- [Narrator] What's the best route to your new job? You may not even realize it, but you are an excellent problem solver.

Each of these questions represents a problem that we sometimes face.

A more methodical approach would be to use the algorithm strategy.

An algorithm is a logical, step-by-step procedure of trying solutions until you hit on the right one.

Because you face such a variety of problems each day from the simple to the complex, your brain has several different ways of solving problems. This means that you just take random guesses until something finally works.

For example, imagine you're trying to log in to an email account you haven't accessed in a while.

Just a few seconds ago, you figured out how to start this video, and that may not feel like a huge accomplishment compared to, say, coming up with the theory of relativity, but every time you engage in an action or thought pattern to move from your current state toward a goal state, you're solving a problem.

Problems can be generally broken down into two categories; well-defined problems and ill-defined problems.

Insight is tricky, it's hard to predict, and harder to encourage, particularly when you're fixated on seeing a problem from the same ineffective perspective.

If you do get stuck on a problem, you can let it incubate, or just sit in your mind while you're not really thinking about it. It's like when you're trying to think of the name of that actor in a movie you saw, but it only comes to you later that night after you thought you stopped thinking about it.


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