One Weird Trick that Solves All Problems

Posted by bob on January 10, 2017

(Do you believe that headline?)

If that headline does not inspire a lot of skepticism, you need to work on your gullibility index.

Fake news, click-bait, phishing emails, and other scams have been very much in the news this past year. Clever marketers and fraudsters have learned how to structure headlines to get you to (at least) open a web page, an email, or click on a link or attachment.  Maybe they tempt you with the latest celebrity wardrobe malfunction; maybe they offer to help you lose weight without any effort.

It says something about us that we all occasionally fall for the quick fix promises.  Maybe we think, “Well, at least this will be entertaining, even if it does not inform me.”

But it also speaks to us emphatically wanting something to be true.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could just snap our fingers and make something wonderful happen?

Here is my full disclosure, completely honest statement:

There is no easy shortcut, no weird trick, and no old home remedy to fix any (or all) of your problems.

Common sense should tell us that there is no easy path.  If it were that easy, then everybody would develop insanely great products; everybody would be rich; and everybody would be beautiful, sexy, and eternally youthful and energetic.

There are good methods to help you find solutions.  I teach a Five Question method, but there are many other systems.  You need to find a system that works for you and stick with it.  But this means you have to be brutally honest about your successes and failures.  Did you really succeed with your approach, or were you just lucky?

There exist some basic concepts that we all need to understand and follow for successful design and debug.  Very few of you will succeed at much of anything, if you don’t write stuff down.  Indeed, I fully believe in Document or Die.  Of course, writing stuff down, won’t fix anything, if you don’t bother to read or try to understand what you have written.

Just as in school, you have to do the homework, and you need to show your work.  If you lean on others to put in all of the effort, you will never build the skills or muscles you need to do the heavy lifting on a project.  We each need the exercise and practice, if for no other reason than to help us guide other folks to succeed.

So my weird trick advice? This stuff is not easy and it takes some work.  Practice hard, learn to use your tools before you need them, and for heaven’s sake, write stuff down.  Go back and read what you wrote.  Be calm and try to enjoy the process of solving problems.  We likely will never run out of problems and hey, this hard work gives us something useful to do.