What Does It Take?

The Mental State of a Problem Solver Should be

  • Focused – able to fully engage the problem. I feel this as a Zen-like release. Some feel it as finding the right space & time.
  • Compelled. You must feel that you have to solve the problem. Give yourself over to it.
  • Fearless – of the problem, of being in a state of "wrongness".
  • Confident. Be convinced that you will find the answer. Don't be afraid of mistakes.
  • Aggressive
  • Connected. You should have full access to your memories and thought processes.
  • Intuitive. Think ahead and have a sense of when you're on the right track.
  • Joyous and Free

The Process of Problem Solving Benefits from

  • Experience which builds mental strength just as exercise builds physical strength. Practice, practice, practice. (How do you get to Carnegie Hall?)
  • Metacognition which achieves self direction via self monitoring and reflection.
  • Self Assessment / Metacognition
  • Error checking
  • Knowing what you don't know
  • Situational awareness
  • Flexibility. Knowing that there are choices prevents the mind from getting stuck or locking onto pet ideas.
  • Group Think. Be open to others as a creative source.
  • Persistence & Patience
  • Learning from the experience of others by reading their stories and watching them think.


  • The Active Mind
  • The Questioning Mind is able to formulate new and interesting questions. Instead of saying, "Isn't that interesting?", ask "How does that work?"