The #1 Key to Solving Your Challenges.

It was a Saturday morning. All the family members woke up later than was usual this morning. We’ve just ended the family’s “Morning Devotion” time together. Leaving the sitting-room, I went inside to pick up the almost ever-by-my-side Samsung Galaxy tablet.

Unlike the movers and shakers regularly featured on CNN’s “Reading for Leading” TV program, these days, I find it more practical, reading e-books on my tab than reading hard copies. (Thanks to my ever expanding collection of Amazon Kindle e-books.) The only exception is when I read or study more involved academic and computer books. I find it more practical to read these in printed formats.

In addition to its other functions, the tab is my go-to-device for reading, writing & jotting down those ideas that pop-up in my head every now and then. This particular morning, I needed to check the web for some widgets to use on my latest website. On this tab, my favorite apps are OneNote and WordPress. After these apps come the others. Most of these apps are mirrored in my Galaxy Note 3. So, it is not as if I cannot live without the tab. But I will be greatly handicapped if any or both of them should get lost or pack-up at the same time. Even though the later scenario is less likely than the former, I do always feel this need so strongly that I have to regularly synchronize the two devices and their associated information before I embark on a long trip out of my base. (NOTE: I do not backup my device to the cloud. It will be too expensive for me to do so.) You might as well follow my example or consider implementing a variant of it. After all, all these devices are relatively cheap these days.

Now, back to my story. And so, I picked up the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8.4. I just wanted to check out some widgets for my new web site. While powering it up, I had to answer a call on the Note 3. After the call, I picked up the bigger screen device. Unfortunately, the tab failed to complete the just initiated boot-cycle. It has mysteriously turned a cold brick stone-wall against me. The petite device, pristine neat white as when I first received it from Amazon in July, 2014 has been serving me well without any hitch. Why then this sudden brick-wall?

Frantically, I pressed two buttons in the hope of a cold-start or a factory reset of the tab to its factory default state. Fortunately for me, none of these two initial attempts succeeded. If I had succeeded on first attempt, I might have reset the tab to the factory default state. This was not my objective. Pairing the power button with either of the home, volume-up or volume-down buttons in turn, I simultaneously pressed two buttons at a time in the hope of restarting/resetting the device. All these to no avail. I found out later that pressing two buttons in turn will not solve the problem. You have to press three buttons, all at once. Unfortunately, which three buttons and in what sequence was not immediately apparent.

Turning to the other three Samsung Galaxy devices users in the house, I inquired if any of them has ever encountered and recovered from this type of hiccup on their devices. Mum was the response. My teenage son advice was for me to let the tab “cool-down” and “sleep” for a while in its off state. To which I answered, “How is that suggestion going to solve my problem?”

“Well daddy, that’s how these stuffs behave at times. Just let it “sleep” and rest for a while.”


Enter, panic mode. Well, not panic mode yet. At worst, I have to buy another device. Where will I get the money for a new tab? The device was ordered from US almost two years ago. In these days of daily bleeding devaluation of our Naira, it means I’ll still have to pay as much or even more for the same device (or its equivalent) instead of paying less than I paid for it in the year 2014. At best, the device is so thoroughly bricked that I have to reset it completely with the attendant loss of all that I have painstakingly worked on and stored in it since 2014. Well, if the worse turn to be worst, most of these information and apps were already synchronized to my Galaxy Note 3. So, I hoped. And so I hoped on.

I will still recover. No matter what happens.

Then, I whispered a prayer, “My God, I can ill afford the cash for a new tab now. Neither do I have the time for a repair-trip to the phone village. Please don’t let it be that this tab has irreparably bricked on me. In Jesus name. Amen.”

It was then I thought within myself, “Hey Chris, [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]wait a minute. What exactly is the problem you are facing now? Now, let’s define the problem in a brief phrase or sentence. OK?” OK[/clickandtweet].

Problem definition: “galaxy S8.4 not powering up”

The next thing I did was to enter the above phrase into … (of course you already knew where). And voila tout, Google came to the rescue. Google Search came up with the screen shown below.


Next, I clicked on the second link from the above screen. The next screen that came up displayed the likely solution to my problem.


Here are the recovery steps in three simple steps displayed in the above screen;

  1. Connect the tab to PC;
  2. Press Home, Vol Down and Power keys simultaneously until a screen appears;
  3. Press Vol Down key to cancel and reboot the tablet

Now the tablet has rebooted and it works fine.

Will these procedure solve the problem or will they not?

Thanks to the guys/gals at XDA-Developers.

It worked! Problem solved.

The final screen (not shown here) was my grateful “Thank You” note to the folks at XDA-Developers. I eventually joined the group even though my aspiration to becoming an Android Developer has not yet budded or taken roots.

Well, this is a mundane problem and there is nothing rather new or profound about it or how I found the solution to it. The whole point I am making here is that whenever you are facing a challenge, big or small, the first thing to do is to; First, always try to identify and define what the problem is. A problem well defined is half-solved. Well, at least this should apply to the ordinarily relatively simple issues and problems that make up the drudgery of daily life on this planet.

In Project Management, we apply the concept of Progressive Elaboration. With progressive elaboration at heart, Project Managers recognize that they cannot plan for all the issues that may arise on their projects, all at once. As a Project Manager, initially, you plan as much as the immediately available information allows you to do at the onset. You then update your plan and always include more information and changes as you know more about the project and the processes driving it as you progress on. The point I’m making here is that even in more sophisticated endeavours with their at times seemingly intractable and unexpected problems, you still need to IDENTIFY OR DEFINE THE PROBLEM FIRST. Counter intuitive. This is not always our first resort in the face of challenging problems and circumstances big or small.

Reliable as they are, your mobile devices are not failure-proof. Of course, you already know that too well. Get a third device. So, for a top executive or aspiring executive like you, don’t tell me you cannot afford a third (relatively cheap) device. You know that you can. The third device is to safely back-up the first two most essential mobile devices you carry on you everyday and to everywhere. You don’t carry the third device with you everywhere you go. All you need do is to simply backup all the most current information on the most frequently used of your first two devices to the third device (that you then store at home) before you commence that long business trip to the other side of the country or the furthest end of our planet. (Of course, the third device may not be necessary if you have access to relatively cheap and fast internet connectivity.) The peace of mind you enjoy will be more than worth the while if you can muster the discipline to follow through with this suggestion.

[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]And so, all is well. All ended well because I was able to define my problem early on at its onset.[/clickandtweet]

Agreed, this is really not a ground-breaking discovery. But  next time you are faced with seemingly intractable challenges, the first key to finding appropriate solutions lie in defining the problem first. I repeat, [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]First and foremost, define what the problem is.[/clickandtweet] This may sound counter-intuitive. But it is the first step to finding lasting and effective remedies. Identifying the problem may not instantly bring about the needed solution. However, once you are able to define what the problem is in clear and unambiguous terms, the issues involved and the eventual solution or the solutions may just pop out in your mind’s eye immediately.

[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]Failure to observe and use this first key will lead to endless frustration or at best lead you to finding a solution to the wrong problem at the end of the day.[/clickandtweet]


I have two main devices. Samsung Galaxy Tab S8.4 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3. The third device is a cheap dual SIM phone that I use almost exclusively as a WiFi hotsport.

All of this blog article was written on the revived tab synchronized to my OneNote on my laptop before I posted it here.

This article was originally published on 30-Jan-2016 on this blog as:
Seeking For A Solution to Your Problem? Define It First.