“A problem well-stated is half-solved.” —Charles Kettering
When you’re stuck, give the problem a better definition.
Sometimes the problems you are solving are very complex and defy a reasonable solution. However, it’s not just the complex problems that can cause us to feel stuck. It can sometimes feel impossible to make progress even on work that we’ve done a thousand times before.
One reason we get stuck looking for a creative breakthrough is that our mind needs more clarity about what we are trying to do. When something is too familiar, we tend to make assumptions or develop short-cuts to get us where we know we are headed. However, those short-cuts and assumptions can limit where we look for new and fresh ideas.
When you feel stuck, step back and ask:
What am I really trying to do here?
Answer in as few words as possible. Be precise. Speak in concrete terms and specifics. Get to the real heart of the problem that you are solving. (It’s possible that it’s changed since you began the project!)
The better you get at identifying the core problem, the more effective you will be at generating ideas.
Question: Is there a problem you’re stuck on right now? How might you re-define it?