The simplest problem-solving heuristic

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Sometimes the most powerful ideas are also the simplest. They are overlooked because of their simplicity.

A simple and powerful heuristic for general problem-solving is the idea that things are they way they are because they got that way. In other words, history matters.

That’s obvious! Yes, it’s logically obvious. But in the throws of problem-solving, we often act as if we didn’t know it.

It’s tempting to not bother oneself to discover why things are the way they are. But this naivete ignores the fact that, one way or another, everything you see, every problem situation you encounter, every jackass you deal with, has its peculiar form because of its unique historical path.

So, to understand a problem situation, it’s often enlightening to ask yourself how it got into the form it’s in.

Need an example? Sorry, I’m plum out. But consider why you’d be the type of person who’d need an example.

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