Problem Solving

Psychologists have affirmed that solving certain puzzles requires seeing things differently.

PROBLEM

In the classic Candle Problem by Karl Dunker, we are given some thumbtacks, a candle, and a box of matches. The goal state is to attach the candle to a wall in such a way that we can light the candle without breaking the house down.

HOW TO APPROACH THIS?
Trial and Error

Most people try to solve problems using trial and error. Of course, it does help you explore the problem space. Here, many people who attempted the test explored their creativity, but less efficient methods to achieve the goal. For example, some tried to tack the candle to the wall without using the thumbtack box, and others attempted to melt some of the candle’s wax and use it as an adhesive to stick the candle to the wall. Neither method Works.

Reframing the problems

The solution comes when we realize that the matchbox can be used to make a kind of shelf to hold the candles. That is, it is not a box but possibly something else. The inability to see the matchbox as a possible solution is called functional fixedness. When  Dunker presented his research subject with an empty box and content separately, they were twice likely to solve the problem.

In the Software field, don’t learn to code! Don’t learn to code!. So many developers are focused on the syntax, they are focused on the language. They are focused on learning to code or to program but not on solving Problems.

“IT IS IMPORTANT TO VIEW KNOWLEDGE AS SORT OF A SEMANTIC TREE — MAKE SURE YOU  UNDERSTAND THE FUNDAMENTAL  PRINCIPLES, THAT IS THE TRUNK AND BIG BRANCHES BEFORE YOU GET INTO THE LEAVES/DETAILS OR THERE IS NOTHING FOR THEM TO HANG ONTO.” EON MUSK

What you need to do as a software developer is to learn to solve problems, not just to code. The important skill needed is the actual ability to solve problems to break them down and then to translate to code.

TAKEAWAY

Perhaps the most important takeaway is perspective, when we look we often don’t see/see things in a certain way. Understanding our view and our own patterns are most important. It makes us know our limitations and reframe ourselves which takes us out of the darkness.