Five Ways to Simplify and Solve a Problem: Sometimes Real Answers Are Obvious

A Story:

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. They pitched their tent under the stars and then went to sleep. In the middle of the night, Holmes awakened and exclaimed, “Watson, look up and tell me what you deduce.” Watson opened his eyes and said, “I see billions and billions of stars. It’s likely that some of thse stars have planetary systems. Furthermore, I deduce that there is probably oxygen on some of these planets, and it’s possible that life has developed on a few of them. Is that what you see?” Holmes replied, “No, you idiot, someone’s stolen our tent!”

I told this story in class and no one laughed either.  Admittedly it’s not that funny (if you have a way to make it funnier I’d love to hear it in the comments.) but funny or not, it does illustrate a good point.

And that is:

We tend to make things too complicateddognose

And we over-think things when sometimes the answer is right in front of our nose. One of the things that meditation gives us is the ability to step back and relfect. When the mind is calm, it’s like the surface of a pond at dawn– crystal clear and it allows you to see your true reflection. Meditation is such an important tool these days because of the vast amounts of information being tossed at us. The mind can go on excessive journeys of calculation when the most obvious aspects of our human lives is right in front us.

Calming the mind is the first step to solving any problem.  Clarity and peace of mind is the only state of mind in which you can make truly solid decisions.  Scattered focus and fear lead to shaky solutions.

Here’s Five ways to simplify and solve a problem

  1. Step back and look at the big picture, are you missing a simple solution that is obvious?
  2. Ask a friend to look at the problem and see if there’s something obvious you’re missing
  3. Take a break from thinking about out and come back when you’re rested and see if there isn’t a simpler solution
  4. Listen to your gut. When you re-look at the problem through the simplistic lens, don’t be afraid to follow your instinct and act.
  5. Give up and relax. Often times we sit around and stress about a problem that seems impossible. We’re not making progress but we’re agonizing over it. Switch gears and put your energy into something you enjoy.  Work on something that you have some control over and make some progress at.  Flow makes you feel good.  After flowing with something new, come back to the original problem when you’re clear.
photo courtesy of Marie Rose Ferron on

This Post Has One Comment

  1. This is so true.
    I experienced this so many times.
    Every time I have faced a problem, that was too big
    that I could find a solution for it , I moved on and let time work for me. There will always be something coming up.
    Even knowing that it’s still not easy when you are too involved.
    I think the ask a friend point is a good one.

Comments are closed.

Close Menu