The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Take the time it needs

Among the many things Einstein is supposed to have said and which he probably never said is the idea that to solve a problem the largest part of the time available should be devoted to thinking about the problem.

One can imagine why this idea was attributed to Einstein. It’s hard to do, seems useful, and thus needs a well-known role model. Otherwise there isn’t enough of an invitation to follow the suggestion to take more time to understand the problem than to solve it.

Human beings don’t like the feeling of not knowing. It creates an anxiety that needs to be dealt with. Depending on the situation it can be a sense that one’s competence is at stake, it can be a need to be the one who has the answer, or for example, the desire to live up to others in the room. Whatever this anxiety is, it establishes a tension between the desire to know the answer and the sense that one doesn’t know it.

In the time of DIY, “one click away” and ChatGPT it seems to have become an idea that problems can be solved easily and quickly. If the tension to have an answer was there in the past, it has since been amplified by the idea that performance is about being fast.

And there is another contributor to the tension, it’s the sense that by starting to act the problem will be addressed and that it is through action that it will be fully understood. That is often the case when practice and the experience it allows to develop is confused with knowing. And it is the case when people are not able to visualize the problem and talk or think it through.

They try to replace the thinking with perseverance.

However, to know if this is possible, the problem needs to at least be understood in that dimension.



Share this post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *