Descartes on Tackling Problems

September 4, 2018 pwm1

Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it.

Descartes, René_pd_by Frans Hals

—René Descartes (by Frans Hals; Public domain)

…Yes, we have all heard this advice, in one form or another, but that doesn’t take away from its brilliance. It is so easy to get overwhelmed in this modern life (actually, we suspect that has been true throughout history) and lose focus on where we are headed. And wherever we choose to go, we will face countless obstacles along the way which are designed to knock us off course.

No matter what the current challenge directly in front of us, let’s write it down, smash it into the smallest possible pieces, and then tackle it, piece by piece. Divide and conquer. By doing this, we remain focused on our path, and we feel a small sense of accomplishment with every piece of rubble we discard. Let’s resolve to use this method with every difficulty in our way as we move forward toward our objective.

MSH, Penn Wealth

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