Today I uncovered the solution to a problem that has been plaguing me for weeks and I got that “feeling” — you know the one — that feeling of figuring it out.
When you get that first flash of thinking “maybe it worked” you feel a little apprehensive. You think you got it, but you thought you had it 3 or 4 times earlier and you didn’t, so you don’t want to start celebrating (or even feeling a sense of relief) too early. You feel a shift in the weight of your shoulders as you lean forward to peer into your computer screen (or into your car engine or into your algebra text book) to basically double-check your own work — and lo and behold… you did it!
You were successful at figuring it out!
Now you get to celebrate a bit.
My celebration usually begins with an audible cue. I let out a WOOT! or Woo-Hoo! the volume of which depends upon how well I know the people within the range of my voice multiplied by the level of difficulty in solving the problem. There may or may-not be additional strutting around the office with my chest puffed out as I seek out someone who is aware of the challenge I was working on so I can spread the word of my victory.
What’s my secret to figuring it out?
I usually start down a path of trial-and-error, racking up a massive number of failure in rapid succession before I start Googling like mad for clues to the solution online.
After striking out on initial searches (finding out-dated answers or simply posts of people asking my same question and not getting any answers), I will set aside my search engine attempts and begin reaching out to friends and contacts on LinkedIn who may have experience with the same problem or know someone who may have the answer. I will dash of a few quick emails to those key individuals, and as I await their responses to appear in my inbox, I return to Google searches.
At this point I usually begin searching YouTube and find a few video How-Tos that I begin to watch. Half of them are useless or outdated. Half the remaining ones show potential by giving me some additional insight I can use to make a few more attempts on my own and inch closer to figuring it out.
By this time I have an email response or two with a helpful tip or web link that I can investigate. Once I glean the knowledge sent via email, I can return to YouTube with my search terms and keywords improved and usually locate the keystone walk-through video — the Rosetta Stone of problem solving — and like a switch being flipped, and connection is made to complete the mental circuit in my brain.
And there it is… I figured it out!