The quickest way to solve any problem

I believe it was Charles Kettering who famously said something along the lines of: “A problem well-stated is a problem half-solved.”

That’s power, no matter what problem you’re working on right now.

Too often we get stuck trying to figure out a creative problem that we just can’t work through. How do I make money doing what I love? How can I prove to my boss that my ideas are worthwhile? The materials I need are just too expensive! Or: There’s not enough time for everything.

What do you do to spark ideas?

The quickest way to a solution is to simply ask more questions; preferably better questions than you’ve been asking.

When you start to frame your problem as not asking the right questions, solutions becomes easier to grasp at. Suddenly you’re not treading on water, but actually moving in a direction (and you’re going to quickly learn whether or not the direction is right or wrong).

So, if you’re stuck, get creative and start asking questions. Make a list of at least 50 alternate questions around your problem. Focus on addressing the 5 Ws: who, what, where, when, why.

Rather than asking: “How can I make a living as an artist?” Ask: “How can I sell my art for rent?” Rather than wondering: “What am I supposed to do if I can’t afford new materials?” Think: “What can I find in a dumpster to work with?”

Solutions are out there, but you’re going to have to explore in order to find them. So start asking more, better questions. See also: Why you should be asking questions all the time.

Photo by Chuck Anderson.