Soon after graduating from university, I needed a way to keep in touch with my friends. Therefore, they persuaded me to create a Facebook account.
A couple of years later, they weren’t as active on Facebook, so I got a Twitter account. This led to Instagram, Whatsapp and several other apps making their way into my smartphone.
These solutions cause problems of their own – a crowded notification panel, a distracted mind and a hijacked attention. The solution? ‘Digital well-being’. More apps that track and limit my smartphone use and help me with my ‘digital detoxes’.
Solving a problem doesn’t cause it to go away. Like a shark attracts pilot fish, the solution brings problems of its own.
Let’s go back to the original problem – keeping in touch with friends. Back in university, I was in touch with more than 50 friends. I met with them frequently and kept a tab on their lives. However, a decade after graduation, that number has came down to under 10 intimate friends. Consequently, the problem of ‘keeping in touch’ with a large friend’s circle was eliminated.
What’s the main difference between solving and eliminating a problem? Solving a problem makes you captive to maintaining the solution. Eliminating a problem makes it disappear.
We have seen several problems being eliminated. Electric automobiles eliminate the myriad problems that come with internal combustion engines. A good internet connection has eliminated the need to go to an office everyday and has enabled us to live anywhere.
Eliminating a problem is more powerful than solving it.
Inspiration: Kent C. Dodds