The figure-it-out-skill: Part 2

In my last post, I introduced the figure-it-out-skill. The central skill you need to master the challenges of a start-up because for many problems in a startup solutions do not even exist. You have to figure out, the “what”, the “why” and the “how”.

To master the figure-it-out-skill, we need be aware of certain obstacles that lead us to something I call pseudo-solutions. They actually interrupt the process of figuring out and we accept the pseudo-solution as a solution.

Humans develop routines to minimize brain activity as an act of self-preservation. Using already accumulated routines, each of us can probably suggest to every problem at least one solution. However, this behaviour is jeopardous, when you are navigating uncharted sea.

Knowing a solution, does not mean, it is the right one.

It’s pretty obvious. Something that worked in the past may work in future, but the probability decreases because the context changes. Understand this: we innovate or test new ideas to because we somehow negate present state (of knowledge) and want to change the status quo. So if we are passionate about this kind of change, we should be beware of solutions you already know because they worked out in the past. They might be ineligible in future.

Talking about solutions, will not solve the problem.

I assume that we mix up words with the real world in our brains. And then wait for results from words. Words don’t move, action does!

Talking is not any better than wishful thinking. So, the best way to start is to stop wishful thinking and stop talking. Start studying a problem that interests you using an optimistic attitude. Don’t let your actions get paralyzed by words or even big ideas we like to talk about.

Enforcing any solution, is not about problem solving.

Instead of figuring out what is really going on, the solution is enforced again and again. Most of the time the context rejects solutions of these unimaginative fellows, who are obsessed with their top-down mentality. No room left for new ideas. The uniqueness of the context is disregarded.

When a solution is enforced then it’s more about power and not about solving a problem. Imagine how boring a world would be if there would be a quick fix for anything.

Figuring out the solution.

If you don’t accept fast pseudo-solutions than you will likely find fulfilment in problem solving; and this will be your unique and personal experience.

To me, the level of mastering the figure-it-out-skill is directly correlated with the depth of understanding a problem. The more you understand the problem with its causes, present and future implications, the better you can figure out the right solution and test it. Understanding the problem does not mean focusing on it. It is a constant and creative shift from understanding the problem and finding not any, but the right solution.

The figure-it-out formula 😉

Figure-It-Out-Skill ∝ Ability to Understand the Problem

The-Figure-It-Out-Skill – Part 1

Are you a big fan of How-To advice? If so, don’t read this post because you will not like it. But if you want to learn why we fail to apply the how-to advice, then go on.

My biggest problem with all the how-to advice by books or people, even successful ones, is that they forget the key to the how-to. There is an implicit expectation that by knowing the “how-to”, the magic will happen. But it most likely won’t.

First of all, one question must be raised: “Will I?”. And this question shouldn’t be answered too fast. It’s not “Do I want?”, “Can I?” or “Do I have to?”. The question is “Will I?”. Before you say yes, think about all the consequences. Well, at least the most important ones.

The product of the question “Will I?” creates commitment. It’s the personal commitment that creates the magic. Commitment is never a result of an existing solution. It’s the condensed form of the initiative to solve a problem. Now, the search process for the right tools begins. And if you still want to answer the question “Will I?” with a “yes”, now it’s the right time for the search process for the how-to-tools.

Someone, who has already done or is currently in this process, will know that there are many tools and many solutions. For many problems in startups, solutions do not even exist. And the problem of too many solutions or no solutions only one skill can manage. I call it the figure-it-out-skill.

The figure-it-out-skill must be perfected every day. It is our personal response to problems and difficulties. This skill demands to learn and is highly dynamic. Otherwise, solutions would not exist at all. This skill fully requires consideration of the current context, which is rapidly changing.

Knowing that, please do me a favor and don’t rely on the startup or some life advice recipes. Just take a step back and answer the question “will I?” Will I accept the challenges, the work, the punches, the failures, the responsibility for progress? Will I accept happiness in work? Or even happiness in failure?

You have 5 minutes to figure it out!