Beyond Methods

Twenty points to help you solve problems

by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
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Here’s an invaluable checklist to aid you in everything from day-to-day life to the most abstract of situations. Go through these tips and solve your problems much more easily!

You need to—

  1. Really want to solve the problem.
  2. Have wide-ranging interests, and feed them.
  3. Be willing to entertain ideas and inspirations from outside the box—not only “think outside the box.” Learn from any and every source as per our new ancient saying:
    • “Anyone can learn from someone wise….it takes someone pretty wise to be able to learn even from fools.”
  4. Be willing to keep coming back to the problem from different directions.
  5. Be willing to let go of it between times, deal with other matters or to—
    • tend the garden
    • wash the dishes
    • meditate
    • experience or ‘do’ in the arts.
    • take inordinate pleasure in little things—sometimes that’s all you’ll have, sometimes those become big worthy things
  6. Keep/build your stamina and follow-through.
  7. Keep your health.
  8. “Keep your day job.”
  9. Keep your sense of humor.|
  10. Be fully creative, then fully critical, then fully creative…..
  11. Raise and keep up your level of ongoing tinkering—
    • tinker with the problem
    • tinker with the idea or with ideas
    • tinker with other things
    • be opportunistic
    • fiddle in other creative activities, keep those further resources of yours in the picture
  12. Work in creative bursts; don’t 9-to-5 it. Grinding a chapter a day just doesn’t do it. Fly on inspiration as fast as possible before the pattern dissipates. Fly fast on inspiration as long as possible, then climb right back on and go up again. You get more of what you reinforce. Moreover, the unique rewards of working inspired will keep you reinforced to be creative. Be willing to dog-plod some of the task, on some sort of scheduled regular basis of production, but do as much as possible inspired. Don’t wait for inspiration, find it.
  13. Build high self-esteem—
    • Reinforce your confidence by being self-critical from time to time.
    • Search hard for everything that might be wrong with your idea-theory-discovery-invention, then: “Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead!”
  14. Do your homework, keep on getting better informed in the context.
  15. Pat yourself on the back on some of those many occasions when no one is going to do that for you. Find others also doing something worthwhile and pat them on the back.—A small but definite percentage will reciprocate. Find/create a support group. You don’t have to be alone. Support can be found in unexpected places.
  16. Appreciate: “the closest distance between two points” in human affairs is usually a very zig-zag line!
  17. Appreciate: the assets and abilities which have brought you this far already.
  18. Appreciate: the many, many others who have been this part of the road and somehow made it through. Resolve to be with them and not with those who instead fell to the wayside. You deserve to make it through, you’re going to make it through, you have within you and above you what it takes to make it through! People need, human beings depend on, what you’re bringing through! And many with far less to do it with than you, have made it through!
  19. Be sure of at least some of the worth of what you are seeking to bring through.
  20. Get visibly on record everyone who says “no” to you and their grounds for saying “no.” Prepare for publication your running memoirs about your campaign and how these people, by name, title and position, said “no.” Some will find it safer to say “yes” rather than join the public ranks of the following, as reported once in Reader’s Digest under “History Lessons”—

  • Marshall Ferdinand Foch in 1911: “Airplanes are interesting toys, but they have no military value.”
  • Business Week, 1958: “With over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn’t likely to carve out a big slice of the U.S. market.”
  • Frank Knox, U.S. Secretary of the Navy, on December 4, 1941: “Whatever happens, the U.S. Navy is not going to be caught napping.”
  • Economist Irving Fisher on October 16, 1929: “Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.”

This will amuse some of you. And, of course, I am keeping track of whoever says “no” to one of my offers, proposals, inventions, etc., and their name, title, address and their stated reasons for saying “no.” I recommend the same to anyone creative.

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