I’m frequently asked during my interactions with people about the Secret to Solving Problems . All of us do face problems and want to solve them in the best possible manner. Having said that, at times, we instinctively think and assume certain aspects of the problem and start the planning to solve them. The first advice I give to people who really wish to resolve the problem, i.e. the first Secret to Solving Problems is Identify the Problem! Though this may sound obvious, it actually isn’t. Let us read one story which will explain what I’m trying to say.
One fine day, a bus driver went to the bus garage, started his bus, and drove off along the route.
No problems for the first few stops-a few People got on, a few got off, and things went generally well.
At the next stop, however, a big hulk of a guy got on. Six feet eight, Built like a wrestler, arms hanging down to the ground.
He glared at the Driver and said, “Big John doesn’t pay!” and sat down at the back.
Did I mention that the driver was five feet three, thin, and basically meek? Well, he was.
Naturally, he didn’t argue with Big John, but he wasn’t happy about it.
The next day the same thing happened-Big John got on again, made a show of refusing to pay, and sat down. And the next day, and the one after that, and so forth.
This grated on the bus driver, who started losing sleep over the way Big John was taking advantage of him.
Finally he could stand it no longer. He signed up for body building courses, karate, judo, and all that good stuff.
By the end of the summer, he had become quite strong; what’s more, he felt really good about himself.
So on the next Monday, when Big John once again got on the bus and said, “Big John doesn’t pay!” the driver stood up, glared back at the passenger, and screamed, “And why not??”
With a surprised look on his face, Big John replied, “Big John has a Bus pass.”
In this case, the problem would have been easily solved with a simple question. Instead, the driver chose to assume the real reason of the problem and put his efforts in the wrong direction.
Thus, the Secret to Solving Problems can be summarized as – “Be sure there is a problem in the first place before striving hard to solve one.”