Monday, August 8, 2011

Inspiration Mondays: The Problem Process

When confronted with problems, do you:

a) tackle them head-on.
b) put them in a box and hope they disappear.
c) find some hapless soul upon whom to unload your complaints.
d) have a cookie.

I'm afraid I'm all of the above.

I like figuring out the tough stuff. If there's a Sudoku puzzle in the paper, I do it. Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune are regular shows in our house. I challenge myself to do math problems in my head. I watch crime and detective shows ad nauseum. Crosswords? Pass 'em this way. I consider it brain exercise, and a good way to keep myself mentally fit.

So, when I can't figure something out, it totally bums me out. As much as I know that there are some things you just have to take on faith, I don't like to back down on something for which I know there must be a solution. And it consumes me. That's not a very good way to exercise your brain.

Today, for example, I spent most of the day trying to fix something at work. I started out with option b): putting them in a box and hoping it would disappear. I wrote a report instead. Made some phone calls. Sent some emails. Looked to see who was in the office. Checked my email again. Drank some coffee.

Then, I moved on to option a): tackle it head-on. I had some ideas about how to fix this problem. I fired each idea one by one at this thing, and none of them fixed it. I tried them again, in different ways, different orders. I searched and searched and searched online for possible solutions. No dice.

After that, I landed right on option c): find some hapless soul... and my poor friend, Dawg, got it all. It's a good thing he's a patient guy, because if he wasn't, I'm sure he'd tell the internet to kick me off. (I haven't heard of that happening, but you never know...)

So, the day ended with option d): have a cookie. Yep, I had a cookie. I had three cookies, actually. And I drowned my sorrows in a cup of tea.

One of my favourite shows is Criminal Minds and one of my favourite characters on it is Penelope Garcia, the Behavior Analysis Unit's Technical Analyst and data diva with an attitude. And, while I can't say I would ever attain the level of computer karate she knows, I like to think that I am a little like her. She finds answers in a millisecond and has them sent out to the team's phones before they even asks. And she keeps looking until she finds them.

So, tomorrow, I'll go back to my office, sit down, and try again. I'm sure options a) through d) will re-run themselves, but that's the process. I won't give up until I can prove that it's either possible or impossible. Penelope and me, we're in that biz.

And she knits too. Awesome.


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