On Problem Solving & The Magic of Showers…

Believe it or not, I’m glad it’s Monday (yes, it’s 12:30am as I write this, but still…Monday). I know, I know. It’s completely preposterous, but Mondays are actually rarely bad for me (Tuesdays are generally my “bad” day of the week), and I solved a programming problem in my head while in the shower on Sunday, and I’m excited to get back to work and see if my solution will hold up in a test. Excited, I tell you. It’s a most frustrating/perplexing problem I’ve been trying to solve.

The thing is, the solution was right there the whole time (as they generally are). Staring me right in the face and waiting for that “ah-ha!” moment to finally kick in (after which the solution laughs and points and makes fun of how long it took me to find it). But I’ve found that there are several things that have to be in place before that ah-ha moment can happen:

– The mind has to be relaxed
– The actual root of the problem must be discovered
– The problem has to be examined from all sides, not just one or two

In my case, I had to get away from my normal work environment (hence my mind chewing on it this weekend). It’s been a bit more stressful than usual lately, and I just needed to be away and without pressure for a little while. I also had to “lead” myself into finding the root of the problem. There were many symptoms masking it, but when I finally did find the actual root cause of my problems, that’s what pointed me toward the proper perspective to attack the problem from.

Once I switched perspectives, the solution I needed suddenly just popped right into my head. And it was so simple that I actually spent quite a bit of time thinking about all the potential reasons it wouldn’t work because it just seemed so easy.

We shall see after I’m able to set up a test, but I’m very, very optimistic.

The million dollar question here is: If I hadn’t taken a shower yesterday, how long would it have been before I came to this solution? Not that it really matters, but…I’m willing to contend that the shower was integral to finding the solution when and how I did.

Because showers are magical, of course.

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