Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Is This the Right Problem to Solve?

Imagine if you did not speak until you were four years old and didn’t read until you were seven. What if your teachers described you as “mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in his foolish dreams.” Do you know that is true for one of the greatest thinkers of all time – Albert Einstein.

Albert Einstein said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question; I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

How often do you spend time and resources on problems which don't necessarily demand such attention? 

Too often our approach to problem solving is reactive; we wait for the problems to arise. The real starting point then for any problem solving process is to find the right problem to solve.

Ask yourself, "Is it the right problem to solve?" and "What opportunities are created by this problem?"

Society teaches us that to see what is good in life is to be naïve, whereas to be critical is perceived to be informed, grounded, sophisticated, and grownup. This is why when we are looking at a situation and thinking of possibilities, we often focus on what is wrong and what can go wrong, instead of possibilities.

The consequence is that our thinking is usually based on an unbalanced and, therefore, incorrect picture. In this video I am delivering my What Were You Thinking? keynote at the Las Colinas IAAP 25th Anniversary celebration dinner.

You'll see that you can learn how to change the way you think... FAST!

Fear constricts everything, especially thinking. Thinking stops when we are upset. But if we express feelings just enough, thinking re-starts. Laughter actually improves thinking.
And did you know that you become smarter after a good cry? 
Unfortunately, we have this backwards in our society. We think that when feelings start, thinking stops. And so when crying starts, for example, we try to stop the crying. When we do this, we interfere with exactly the process that helps a person to think clearly again.

So the next time a colleague or friend begins to show signs of feelings – relax and welcome them. Good thinking lies just around the corner.

More articles on thinking differently to achieve uncommon results:

About the Author: Monica Cornetti
Founder and CEO, Sententia

A gamification speaker and designer, Monica Cornetti is rated as a #1 Gamification Guru in the World by UK-Based Leaderboarded. She is the author of the book Totally Awesome Training Activity Guide: Put Gamification to Work for You, What Were You Thinking, and Your Face Isn't Finished Until Your Lipstick is On, writes The Gamification Report blog, and hosts the weekly Gamification Talk Radio program.


  1. Wish that you would check out some of our e-learning gamification apps Monica. Your feedback would be really valued.

  2. Wish that you would check out some of our e-learning gamification apps Monica. Your feedback would be really valued.

    1. Hi Stanley - yes I will do that over the Christmas Holidays and I'll give you some feedback.