Nick Ang profile picture

Nick Ang

Problems and solutions

For every problem, there is almost always multiple solutions.

For example, you may live on the 10th floor in a building with multiple elevators. One of the elevators is closest to the supermarket downstairs and you want to know which one because it will reduce the time you’re outside in the cold of winter or the heat of summer with two bags full of groceries. How can you go about figuring that out?

The first option is to walk home from the supermarket and find the nearest elevator you can see from the street that connects to your apartment building.

The second option is to walk within the building in the general direction of the supermarket from your apartment and take the elevator that is furthest from you in that direction. Once you emerge on the street, you’d know which elevator is the nearest and you’d know how the entrance looks.

Both options may yield the same answer, but the second approaches the problem in a more efficient way.

Here’s another example, and a funnier one: how can you find out how much your shit weighs?

The first option? Shit into a plastic bag, tie it up, and put it on a weighing scale.

The second option? Well, you weigh yourself before and after taking a shit, and then do a subtraction.

For the elegance and efficiency of not having to dispose of a shitty plastic bag, I would always take option two for this problem.

Many problems in life have more than one solution, but among those solutions, one is probably more effective than the other. It’s therefore prudent that we invest the time to think before we pick a solution to a problem, rather than taking the first possible approach.

Nick Ang profile picture
If something made you think, I would love to know.
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