The wizard stares into his pot with a concerned look on his face. He has added water, but he cannot get the ingredients to dissolve and mix. Something is missing. He paces the room, wondering what to do. Suddenly, he gets it! He stacks firewood underneath the pot and gets a fire going. The content boils and dissolves, and the problem is solved.

''Once upon a time, there was a wise man who knew that a problem "was an act he needed to carry out".''

The notion of problems

A problem may be regarded as an indication that there is something we need to do. Or, conversely, something we need not to do. Basically, it is that simple. If I weigh too much and want to get slimmer, I need to get more exercise and avoid eating more calories than I burn. Basically, that is how it works. However, we have a myriad notions, mental ­obstacles and emotional needs and disorders that hamper rational decision-making, all the way down to the cellularlevel. The impact of these factors blurs the above-described notion of problems but does not make it any less true. If we momentarily accept this notion of problems and apply it to just one of our problems, we would most likely find that there is one thing we need to do – or not to do.

Table of Content

If we struggle to make ends meet, we have to either reduce our spending to balance our budget or find a way to increase our earnings. If we lack love, we have to do something to find it or avoid doing something that keeps others from loving us. Continue the list with your own examples.


In the illustration the wizard is pacing the room, wondering what to do to make his herbs dissolve and mix. The conditions for the wizard to achieve his goal are present. He has a goal, he has access to the ingredients and items he needs to reach his goal, he is determined to solve the problem, and he is in contact with his creativity. Because he is aware there is something he needs to do, he keeps pondering what that is, until the answer ­finally comes to him.
The question is whether the conditions for reaching any given goal are always at hand. If a problem is broken down to incremental steps, and if the problem-­solving process is viewed as an evolutionary process – where one action builds on the preceding one – I believe the answer is yes. Some problems are solved over time, while others are solved as soon as the right idea emerges, and the right action is taken. Which may also take some time.

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