What Happened

When you continually reprocess a topic and push it in different directions, particularly if you do it quickly and succinctly, a number of things can happen:

• You can solve the problem. Just by throwing a great deal of concentrated energy against an issue you can actually force a solution.

• You can make progress toward a solution even if you don't fully solve it. The progress brings the ball farther down the field, even if it's not a touchdown, so that you might be able to solve it later.

• You discover the real problem. Many people who have used this process have told me it doesn't necessarily solve the problem they tackle, but sometimes, just as important, it helps them identify the problem behind the problem.

• You realize the problem isn't a problem after all. Or at least you find it's less of an issue than you thought.

• Sometimes you gain or release responsibility. Maybe claiming a problem that you think is someone else's fault causes you to see your own role in it. Maybe the process helps you release your responsibility, "Screw 'em. Let them deal with it."

In all cases you gain perspective.

The worst thing you can do is to just sit with a problem.

Psychologist and author Wayne Dyer says, when you have a problem, "Do something." What? "Anything." Don't just sit with it. A former chairman of 3M, when put on the spot by the press about his company's penchant for "stumbling over" new ideas, is reputed to have said, "You can't stumble if you're not moving."

Cheat Notes for Chapter 11: Conceptual Solitaire

Conceptual Solitaire is an ideal process for brainstorming by yourself.

The worst thing you can do is to just sit with a problem.

A

Throwing a great deal of concentrated energy against an issue can actually force a solution.

W—

Even if you don't find a solution, you will likely make progress, discover the real problem, or maybe release or accept responsibility.

In any case, you're likely to find a fresh perspective.

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