When I consult people on their business, oftentimes, I am not clear with what needs solving.
Sometimes we downplay the importance of defining the problem.
In schools, we were taught to solve as quickly as we can. Whoever raised their hands first, becomes the teacher's pet. We are conditioned to answer as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t work like that.
Take for example my life. I don’t have enough time to read books.
The solution is not as straightforward as many would think. How do we make time or find the time?
What time are we talking about here? Is this resting time, or leisure or ‘me time’? — It’s ‘me time’.
What’s taking the most time? — After listing down the entire day, I realised, I was gaming for 60–90 minutes per day. That’s almost 2 days in a month.
While it may seem easy to quit, gaming is very addictive. It’s designed to be that way, filled with emotional triggers.
So we need to break that habit.
Delete the app?
Lock the iPad?
Destroy the iPad?
Give the iPad someone else?
Sell the game account?
— I deleted the app. No more notification. No more encouragement.
Solution — I replaced it with watching documentaries, playing sudoku, board games with my kids, and of course, reading books.
Spend 15 minutes (minimum) writing down all your worldly problems. Anything. Don’t limit yourself. It doesn’t matter if it's not within your control. Write it.
Out of the many problems, highlight 3 that bothers you the most.
Drill on those problems. Refine it deeper.
I created an anxiety board and let all my managers access it. Don’t tell the problems to my face, I don’t want to hear it. Write it down. Solve it if you can.
We do this weekly and host meetings to discuss these problems.
The result, we reduce our mental burden. Since we’ve outsourced our problems to a document.
You can get away with solutions, but it’s only a temporary measure until you get to the bottom of it.
As my economist friend put it, ‘a manifestation of symptoms leading to root cause’. i.e. Define the root cause, solve it, it’ll save all other problems.