This weekend I was seriously researching a solution for a complex problem. The problem that frustrates me and if not addressed could lead me to start my days on the wrong foot. Of course, it was about coffee.
I am not a fan of instant coffee powders as I grew up drinking freshly brewed filter coffee. Last year or so, the company ID started packaging the decoction to help the coffee fanatic lazy people like me. What started as an urgent and temporary fix started evolving into a permanent solution.
There was one problem with consistency that was always bothering me. The same amount of decoction did not always get me the same taste. Sometimes it was darker and bitter and sometimes it was lighter. On a normal day, I have as much energy and feelings as a Zombie before I have had my first cup of coffee. So, I ignore the problem. But this weekend, I got an urge to find the solution to this problem. It must be an effect of productivity videos that I binged watched on YouTube the previous day.
I set myself up and was researching how to solve this problem. The problem that literally could make or break my day. What kind of apparatus can I devise? Which mechanisms should I be looking for? If I find the solution, how to market that? Should I start a non-profit as this will help humanity or should I set up a Shopify store and encash? The thoughts were racing through my mind and my google search history was reflecting the pace of those thoughts. It is scary that you (or anyone who has access to) can trace back your thoughts by looking at the search history of google. I was in the zone, I was in the flow when my better half disturbed me.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m researching a solution for a complex problem that may help the humanity to start their day on a positive note”
“Interesting. What’s that?”
I explained her the problem and the solution I’m researching for. She was listening to it patiently.
“What you need is not a device or apparatus to solve this problem. “, I can almost hear her smirk.
“A simple process“
“Simple process? What process? Can an ordinary human who is in Zombie mode trying to prepare his/her first coffee follow this process? It is not that easy“
“It just takes ten seconds and requires no effort“
“That sounds super simple. What is that?”
“Shaking the pack well before every use. Just like a cough syrup“
My dreams popped like a balloon. How did I miss such an obvious thing? The problem that most of us have is that we tend to complicate the issue at hand.
We chase complexity and productivity without having clarity on what the problem is or what the solution could be. We tend to complicate stuff by saying
- I need to use this software to be productive
- I need this gadget to solve this problem
- I need to write this complex code to solve the problem that does not exist
- I need to take this course, then I will be productive
There is no doubt that there are complex problems that require complex solutions. Sometimes you have to complicate simple things for a greater good. Like the story above. But, solutions to most of the problems that we face have simple solutions.
We also have to understand that a simple solution does not mean an easy solution. Simple and simplistic are two different things. More on this later.
To quote Confucius, for social approval,
Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
What do you think? Have you every caught yourselves complicating things than they actually were?