Saturday, February 20, 2010

Finally Seeing It

You know the feeling. You've been grappling with a problem. You've considered it from what seemed like all directions. Conventional and unconventional solutions have been evaluated but you know they don't ring true.

And then it happens: You suddenly notice the real problem and realize that for months you've just been wrestling with symptoms. The real problem is obvious. It has indeed been the elephant in the living room and you've been stepping on ants in the front yard.

The tip-off may have been triggered by two things:

  1. You dropped your reluctance to admit the real problem, and

  2. You finally noticed the common denominator.

Another factor may have also contributed to your myopia: A tendency to get too sophisticated. Some problems hide in mazes. Most are far more visible. As the medical maxim notes, "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras."

I'd add: And look for the elephant.

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