Nested problems, nested solutions (2): trivial problems

If you missed it, start with yesterday’s post. A problem is anything we want to change – however trivial or enormous. Our very simplest problems have immediate symptoms and immediate solutions: a (non-recurring) itchy nose can be scratched and the problem is solved. Many trivial problems can be “solved” by the decision that they are not important and can be…

Nested problems, nested solutions (1): what’s your problem?

I’ve posted about nested problems before as The Wrapper, and The Onion (1), (2), (3), (4). It helps to begin by defining “problem”. A problem isn’t necessarily big or important and doesn’t necessarily require action: it’s simply anything that you want to change. We face hundreds of problems every day: My morning alarm is disturbing me – how can I…

Choosing to stop or choosing to continue

I’ve been spending more time on Skype, Zoom, Whatsapp and even normal phone calls (imagine!) than normal over the past week. A few times my meetings have bumped up against Zoom’s 40 minute limit for free accounts, where meetings of more than two people need to stop and reconnect when the time runs out. This has been a frustrating niggle…

Bear hunt

We can rarely go around – or over, or under – the big, difficult things. If we could they wouldn’t be big or difficult. The only way is through.* *Hopefully with a minumum of “Stumble Trip! Stumble Trip! Stumble Trip!”

Competent

Maybe you think of yourself as competent, or maybe you don’t. Self-talk I tend to say things to myself like: I can do this. I could do that. I could do that, too, if I spent some time learning how. I understand how this works, even if I’m sketchy on the details. I’m not doing this very well in this…

No finish line (2)

“No finish line” applies to most of our work too. There will be tasks to tick off and projects that we complete, but most of the important stuff – helping people who need help, making something important available, working so that things get better rather than worse – doesn’t stop. Won’t stop. This means: That projects and milestones become more…

No finish line (1)

Most of the important things in life don’t have finish lines. This is fairly obvious for personal things like feeding your family – or simply being family – and things like staying healthy, maintaining your house, and looking after your garden. Most of the jobs we do, the tasks we tick off as finished, are actually done in the service…

Soichiro Honda on success and failure

Success represents the 1% of your work which results from the 99% that is called failure. Instead of being afraid of the challenge and failure, be afraid of avoiding the challenge and doing nothing. Soichiro Honda – found in various forms online and in The Excellence Dividend See also: Quality as a function of quantity

Malcolm Gladwell on creativity, quality and quantity

This is from a great New Yorker article – I recommend checking out the whole thing. He refers to the researchers at Xerox Parc (often credited as the inventors of the computer mouse, graphical internet, ethernet and laser printing) as Wild geysers of creative energy The psychologist Dean Simonton argues that this fecundity [of ideas] is often at the heart…

Ahead of the day

It’s a wonderful feeling to be ahead of the day. Up early, time to spare, space to think, an open road ahead where you’ll get stuff done with clear-headed poise. And yet… There’s a danger here: In how quickly twenty minutes early becomes ten minutes late; In how the couple of things you can just fit in spill over and…