# Problem Solving Approaches

If the problem is that your bike squeaks when you ride it, determine what part squeaks.Sometimes we can see the problem and all its important details right in front of us. Other times we can't see important elements because they have already occurred or are not visible.

If the problem is that your bike squeaks when you ride it, determine what part squeaks.Sometimes we can see the problem and all its important details right in front of us. Other times we can't see important elements because they have already occurred or are not visible.

More understanding can occur in some cases if we go farther and imagine being the problem, a key process, or the solution.

So, if you want to understand space and time, you can imagine, as Einstein did, riding a light beam.

If you want to determine why a spacecraft exploded, simulate its flight, and try ways of recreating the explosion. Creating a concrete example helps us explore the problem just as we might explore a specific example of dinosaur bones to understand dinosaurs.

So, if you want to determine what makes a person psychotic, consider real people who have become psychotic.

If you want to help a person who is very paranoid, you can imagine being that person and seeing the world as he does.

If you want to get a hit in a big baseball game, you can imagine going up to bat, seeing the ball clearly, and swinging crisply while you step into the pitch, etc.

So, if you want to calculate when two airplanes will collide, draw their paths and speeds.

If you plan to assault a house where a terrorist holds hostages, draw a picture of the room, doors, windows, hostages, etc.

If your problem is that your mother can't get the new software to work, determine what doesn't happen that she wants to happen.

If your problem is a math homework question, read carefully the question (usually at the end): Is the answer supposed to be in metres or centimetres, rounded or not, square or not, etc.

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