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The Master-key to Your Desired End

This is the first and often overlooked key to solving any life problem

Photo by Jessica Yong on Unsplash

Unlike the movers and shakers regularly featured on CNN’s “Reading for Leading” TV program, I prefer e-books to hard copies. (Thanks to my ever-expanding collection of Amazon Kindle and other e-books.) Of course, academic books and journals are best read in printed formats. The tab and my smartphone are my go-to-devices for reading, writing, and storing all those pop-up ideas.

It was a Saturday morning, and I needed to grab some widgets for one of my WordPress websites. Except for web-based apps, I do not back up my devices to the web. Backing up several gigabytes of device storage files to the web will literally bore a hole into my pocket in terms of data costs. To make matters worse, the network speed is such that it will take forever to do any backup. The easy access to cheap portable USB storage devices has assuaged this loss.

Back to my story. On that day, unlike hundreds of times before, the tab bricked on me, steadfastly failing to boot up. The petite, pristine off-white device has been serving me hitch-free since I got it from Amazon two years before. Why then this sudden lockout without warning? Frantically, I pressed two of the three side buttons in various combinations to return it to its default factory state. All my efforts availed nothing. None of the other house members could be of any help either.

One householder even advised me to let the tab “cool down” and “sleep” for a while in its off state. To which I answered, barely hiding my worked-up exasperation, “How is that suggestion going to solve my problem now?” With an impish grin on his face, he replied, “Well daddy, that’s how these stuffs behave at times. Just let it “sleep” and rest for a while.” I wish I could accept his palliative, but I half-heartedly responded, “OK” as I left the sitting-room.

Enter, panic mode. Well, not yet. At worst, I have to buy another device. Back in the room, I whispered a prayer, “My God, I can’t even afford the cash for a new tab now. Neither do I have the time for a repair trip to the phone village. Please, wake this tab up.” Trying to calm down as best as I could, I had this ministration ruminating in my mind,

Hey Chris, 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.”

Problem definition: “Galaxy S8.4 Tab 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. It turned out that some other persons have already encountered and solved this same issue. With no recourse to reinventing the wheel, I could quickly resolve the issue. Till today, the tab is still intact but archived in perpetual hibernation in my home museum. The battery is dead.

I am in full agreement with you that this is a mundane, run-of-the-mill experience. Probably you might have encountered and solved more profound and earth-shaking challenges. The whole point from this experience is, whenever you face any challenge, big or small, what you do first is to identify and define what the problem is. Well, may it be said that a problem well defined is half-solved? Well, at least this should apply to the ordinarily relatively simple issues and problems that mark the drudgery and nagging issues of daily life on this planet.

Whenever you face any challenge, big or small, what you do first is to identify and define what the problem is. Well, may it be said that a problem well defined is half-solved. Click To Tweet

Project managers use the concept of Progressive Elaboration. At its heart is the recognition that you cannot plan for all the issues that may arise on any project all at once and all at the beginning. At the onset, you plan as much as the immediately available information and resources allow you to do. Moving along as the project progresses, you update your plan always including more information and changes as you know more about the project and the processes driving it forward.

This is the first point

In more sophisticated undertakings with their seemingly intractable and unexpected challenges, you must always identify and define the problem condition first. Counter-intuitive as it appears, this is not always our first resort in the face of hectic schedules, bickering workers, or uncooperative customers. Often, we waste so many resources, time, and energy scurrying about blasting away our bullets before remembering to effectively aim our guns in the right direction.

And, here is the second point.

Always have a backup plan for your devices. Reliable as they are, mobile devices are not failure-proof. You already know that too well. These devices are getting ever cheaper and more functional these days. Get a second pocket device. Alternatively, at your next device upgrade cycle, you can use your older device as a backup that mirrors your all the time most favored carry-on device. Keep the older device at home or in your office as insurance against unexpected failures. There are more elegant backup services online, but most of us will be hard-pressed to replace costly high-end devices at brief notices.

Thank you for reading.

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