Two Brains Are Better Than One

Last week I listened to a friend explain a problem he’s trying to solve and the solution he’s considering. His solution solves 100% of his problem but is expensive and creates another problem. I asked questions during our conversation and was intrigued. I kept thinking, There must be a better and cheaper solution. I decided to think about this problem more after our call.

The next day I read an article related to the problem. The information in the article got me thinking about the problem in a different way. A light bulb blinked on. I came up with an unconventional idea for how to solve the problem. It would solve 90% of the problem, cost 25% less than his proposed solution, and not create additional problems. I shared my idea with my friend, who was intrigued. He wasn’t aware of the information I’d read about and therefore hadn’t thought of solving the problem using it. He did more research and ended up loving the solution. Today he told me he executed the solution and is happy with the result.  

Had this friend never shared his problem with me, he would have likely come up with a good solution on his own, given his smarts. But because he did share it, I uncovered information that was new to him and used it to craft a unique solution.

Talking through problems with people who are familiar with the area in question is a great way to come up with better solutions. Explaining the issue helps you crystallize your own thinking, and it can result in more brains thinking about and sometimes solving the problem. The downside is minimal and the upside is massive.

The next time you’re trying to solve a hard problem, consider talking it through with credible people you trust.