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John Adair's 100 Greatest Ideas for Smart Decision Making by John Adair

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Idea 60: Six steps for problem solvers

One should never impose one’s views on a problem. One should rather study it, and in time a solution will reveal itself.

Albert Einstein, German physicist

You can develop your ability to exercise judgement soundly. Following the six steps below when you are confronted with a problem is a useful start. The resulting judgements, you may well find, are better than when you made no conscious effort to use your reasoning powers.

1. Recognition – General unease does not constitute a problem. There is something ‘thrown forward’ in one’s path, a difficulty, obstruction or frustration, which has to be identified. Once known, the problem may be tackled or avoided, but you need to see the problem first before you ...

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