“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions” Albert Einstein
When looking for a solution to a problem it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and not know where to start. By using a strategy called “first principles thinking,” you can get to the core of any problem where there are no more questions to be asked and the solution is obvious. Here are the steps to apply this process to your own life.
Step 1: Identity and define the problem.
For this method to work you need to start by being very specific about the problem. “I am 30 pounds overweight,” “I am $4,500 in credit card debt.” This step is about both fact-finding, precision, and being honest with yourself.
Step 2: Break down the problem to its fundamental principles.
It is time to find out how the problem was developed. Again, you must be very precise and honest with yourself. If you are in debt, obviously it is because you have spent more than you have, but what circumstances, behaviors, or mindsets cause you to spend more than you have? Do you buy lunch or coffee daily, which adds up to an expensive habit at the end of the month? Do you spend money as a means of relieving stress? Do you see your credit card as means of obtaining whatever you desire whenever you desire it? Do you have trouble differentiating wants from needs?
Because this process is about YOU and what actions you must take to solve the problem, the blame (nor the solution) can’t be put on others. It’s not your job’s fault for not paying you enough or that your credit cards’ interest rates are too high. This step is about digging deep and revealing how the problem originates inside your head.
Step 3: Create a solution.
After discovering why you choose to spend more money than you have, you have the opportunity to create a solution that will turn your deficit around. This can look like bringing lunch to work daily, looking for positive ways to relieve stress, waiting 48 hours before making purchases, or creating a system where you need someone else’s approval to make a purchase. The solution must be effective to who you are as an individual.
This process works because it gives you a strategy to analyze problems and challenges by exposing the core root of the problem and working your way to a solution. Keep looking to identify the truths that contribute to problem and seek to implement creative and effective actions and you will eliminate the problem!
Rogelio H. Charles