More on Personal Growth
Ari Joury, PhD
6 months ago
7 ways to turn into a major problem-solver
For some people, the glass is half empty. For others, it’s half full. And for some, the question is, How do I get this glass totally full again?
Problem-solvers are the last group. They're neutral. Pragmatists.
Problems surround them. They fix things instead of judging them. Problem-solvers improve the world wherever they go.
Some fail. Sometimes their good intentions have terrible results. Like when they try to help a grandma cross the road because she can't do it alone but discover she never wanted to.
Most programmers, software engineers, and data scientists solve problems. They use computer code to fix problems they see.
Coding is best done by understanding and solving the problem.
Despite your best intentions, building the wrong solution may have negative consequences. Helping an unwilling grandma cross the road.
How can you improve problem-solving?
1. Examine your presumptions.
Don’t think There’s a grandma, and she’s unable to cross the road. Therefore I must help her over the road. Instead think This grandma looks unable to cross the road. Let’s ask her whether she needs my help to cross it.
Maybe the grandma can’t cross the road alone, but maybe she can. You can’t tell for sure just by looking at her. It’s better to ask.
Maybe the grandma wants to cross the road. But maybe she doesn’t. It’s better to ask!
Building software is similar. Do only I find this website ugly? Who can I consult?
We all have biases, mental shortcuts, and worldviews. They simplify life.
Problem-solving requires questioning all assumptions. They might be wrong!
Think less. Ask more.
Secondly, fully comprehend the issue.
Grandma wants to cross the road? Does she want flowers from the shop across the street?
Understanding the problem advances us two steps. Instead of just watching people and their challenges, try to read their intentions.
Don't ask, How can I help grandma cross the road? Why would this grandma cross the road? What's her goal?
Understand what people want before proposing solutions.
3. Request more information. This is not a scam!
People think great problem solvers solve problems immediately. False!
Problem-solvers study problems. Understanding the problem makes solving it easy.
When you see a grandma struggling to cross the road, you want to grab her elbow and pull her over. However, a good problem solver would ask grandma what she wants. So:
Problem solver: Excuse me, ma’am? Do you wish to get over the road? Grandma: Yes indeed, young man! Thanks for asking. Problem solver: What do you want to do on the other side? Grandma: I want to buy a bouquet of flowers for my dear husband. He loves flowers! I wish the shop wasn’t across this busy road… Problem solver: Which flowers does your husband like best? Grandma: He loves red dahlia. I usually buy about 20 of them. They look so pretty in his vase at the window! Problem solver: I can get those dahlia for you quickly. Go sit on the bench over here while you’re waiting; I’ll be back in five minutes. Grandma: You would do that for me? What a generous young man you are!
A mediocre problem solver would have helped the grandma cross the road, but he might have forgotten that she needs to cross again. She must watch out for cars and protect her flowers on the way back.
A good problem solver realizes that grandma's husband wants 20 red dahlias and completes the task.
4- Rapid and intense brainstorming
Understanding a problem makes solutions easy. However, you may not have all the information needed to solve the problem.
Additionally, retrieving crucial information can be difficult.
You could start a blog. You don't know your readers' interests. You can't ask readers because you don't know who they are.
Brainstorming works here. Set a stopwatch (most smartphones have one) to ring after five minutes. In the remaining time, write down as many topics as possible.
No answer is wrong. Note everything.
Sort these topics later. Programming or data science? What might readers scroll past—are these your socks this morning?
Rank your ideas intuitively and logically. Write Medium stories using the top 35 ideas.
5 - Google it.
Doctor Google may answer this seemingly insignificant question. If you understand your problem, try googling or binging.
Someone has probably had your problem before. The problem-solver may have posted their solution online.
Use others' experiences. If you're social, ask a friend or coworker for help.
6 - Consider it later
Rest your brain.
Reread. Your brain needs rest to function.
Hustle culture encourages working 24/7. It doesn't take a neuroscientist to see that this is mental torture.
Leave an unsolvable problem. Visit friends, take a hot shower, or do whatever you enjoy outside of problem-solving.
I get my best ideas in the morning after working on a problem. I couldn't have had these ideas last night.
Sleeping subconsciously. Leave it alone and you may be surprised by the genius it produces.
7 - Learn to live with frustration
There are problems that you’ll never solve.
Mathematicians are world-class problem-solvers. The brightest minds in history have failed to solve many mathematical problems.
A Gordian knot problem can frustrate you. You're smart!
Frustration-haters don't solve problems well. They choose simple problems to avoid frustration.
No. Great problem solvers want to solve a problem but know when to give up.
Frustration initially hurts. You adapt.
Famous last words
If you read this article, you probably solve problems. We've covered many ways to improve, so here's a summary:
Test your presumptions. Is the issue the same for everyone else when you see one? Or are your prejudices and self-judgments misguiding you?
Recognize the issue completely. On the surface, a problem may seem straightforward, but what's really going on? Try to see what the current situation might be building up to by thinking two steps ahead of the current situation.
Request more information. You are no longer a high school student. A two-sentence problem statement is not sufficient to provide a solution. Ask away if you need more details!
Think quickly and thoroughly. In a constrained amount of time, try to write down all your thoughts. All concepts are worthwhile! Later, you can order them.
Google it. There is a purpose for the internet. Use it.
Consider it later at night. A rested mind is more creative. It might seem counterintuitive to leave a problem unresolved. But while you're sleeping, your subconscious will handle the laborious tasks.
Accept annoyance as a normal part of life. Don't give up if you're feeling frustrated. It's a step in the procedure. It's also perfectly acceptable to give up on a problem because there are other, more pressing issues that need to be addressed.
You might feel stupid sometimes, but that just shows that you’re human. You care about the world and you want to make it better.
At the end of the day, that’s all there is to problem solving — making the world a little bit better.
7 months ago
Four obnoxious one-minute habits that help me save more than 30 hours each week
These four, when combined, destroy procrastination.
You're not rushed. You waste it on busywork.
You'll accept this eventually.
In 2022, the daily average usage of a user on social media is 2.5 hours.
By 2020, 6 billion hours of video were watched each month by Netflix's customers, who used the service an average of 3.2 hours per day.
When we see these numbers, we think "Wow!" People squander so much time as though they don't contribute. True. These are yours. Likewise.
We don't lack time; we just waste it. Once you realize this, you can change your habits to save time. This article explains. If you adopt ALL 4 of these simple behaviors, you'll see amazing benefits.
Cal Newport's time-blocking trick takes a minute but improves your day's clarity.
Divide the next day into 30-minute (or 5-minute, if you're Elon Musk) segments and assign responsibilities. As seen.
The procrastination that results from attempting to determine when to begin working is eliminated. Procrastination is a given if you choose when to begin working in real-time. Even if you may assume you'll start working in five minutes, it won't take you long to realize that five minutes have turned into an hour. But if you've already determined to start working at 2:00 the next day, your odds of procrastinating are greatly decreased, if not eliminated altogether.
You'll also see that you have a lot of time in a day when you plan your day out on paper and assign chores to each hour. Doing this daily will permanently eliminate the lack of time mindset.
5-4-3-2-1: Have breakfast with the frog!
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
Eating the frog means accomplishing the day's most difficult chore. It's better to schedule it first thing in the morning when time-blocking the night before. Why?
The day's most difficult task is also the one that causes the most postponement. Because of the stress it causes, the later you schedule it, the more time you risk wasting by procrastinating.
However, if you do it right away in the morning, you'll feel good all day. This is the reason it was set for the morning.
Mel Robbins' 5-second rule can help. Start counting backward 54321 and force yourself to start at 1. If you acquire the urge to work on a goal, you must act within 5 seconds or your brain will destroy it. If you're scheduled to eat your frog at 9, eat it at 8:59. Start working.
You've heard of visualizing to enhance the future. Visualizing a bright future won't do much if you're not prepared to focus on the now and develop the necessary habits. Alexander said:
People don’t decide their futures. They decide their habits and their habits decide their future.
I visualize the next day's schedule every morning. My day looks like this
“I’ll start writing an article at 7:30 AM. Then, I’ll get dressed up and reach the medicine outpatient department by 9:30 AM. After my duty is over, I’ll have lunch at 2 PM, followed by a nap at 3 PM. Then, I’ll go to the gym at 4…”
This reinforces the day you planned the night before. This makes following your plan easy.
Set the timer.
It's the best iPhone productivity app. A timer is incredible for increasing productivity.
Set a timer for an hour or 40 minutes before starting work. Your call. I don't believe in techniques like the Pomodoro because I can focus for varied amounts of time depending on the time of day, how fatigued I am, and how cognitively demanding the activity is.
I work with a timer. A timer keeps you focused and prevents distractions. Your mind stays concentrated because of the timer. Timers generate accountability.
To pee, I'll pause my timer. When I sit down, I'll continue. Same goes for bottle refills. To use Twitter, I must pause the timer. This creates accountability and focuses work.
If you do all 4, you won't be disappointed. Here's how:
Plan out your day's schedule the night before.
Next, envision in your mind's eye the same timetable in the morning.
Speak aloud 54321 when it's time to work: Eat the frog! In the morning, devour the largest frog.
Then set a timer to ensure that you remain focused on the task at hand.
8 months ago
Two Key Money Principles You Should Understand But Were Never Taught
Prudence is advised. Be debt-free. Be frugal. Spend less.
This advice sounds nice, but it rarely works.
Most people never learn these two money rules. Both approaches will impact how you see personal finance.
It may safeguard you from inflation or the inability to preserve money.
Let’s dive in.
#1: Making long-term debt your ally
High-interest debt hurts consumers. Many credit cards carry 25% yearly interest (or more), so always pay on time. Otherwise, you’re losing money.
Some low-interest debt is good. Especially when buying an appreciating asset with borrowed money.
Inflation helps you.
If you borrow $800,000 at 3% interest and invest it at 7%, you'll make $32,000 (4%).
As money loses value, fixed payments get cheaper. Your assets' value and cash flow rise.
The never-in-debt crowd doesn't know this. They lose money paying off mortgages and low-interest loans early when they could have bought assets instead.
#2: How To Buy Or Build Assets To Make Inflation Irrelevant
Dozens of studies demonstrate actual wage growth is static; $2.50 in 1964 was equivalent to $22.65 now.
These reports never give solutions unless they're selling gold.
But there is one.
Assets beat inflation.
$100 invested into the S&P 500 would have an inflation-adjusted return of 17,739.30%.
Likewise, you can build assets from nothing. Doing is easy and quick. The returns can boost your income by 10% or more.
The people who obsess over inflation inadvertently make the problem worse for themselves. They wait for The Big Crash to buy assets. Or they moan about debt clocks and spending bills instead of seeking a solution.
Being ultra-prudent is like playing golf with a putter to avoid hitting the ball into the water. Sure, you might not slice a drive into the pond. But, you aren’t going to play well either. Or have very much fun.
Money has rules.
Avoiding debt or investment risks will limit your rewards. Long-term, being too cautious hurts your finances.
Disclaimer: This article is for entertainment purposes only. It is not financial advice, always do your own research.
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3 months ago
There Is A New EV King in Town
McMurtry Spéirling outperforms Tesla in speed and efficiency.
EVs were ridiculously slow for decades. However, the 2008 Tesla Roadster revealed that EVs might go extraordinarily fast. The Tesla Model S Plaid and Rimac Nevera are the fastest-accelerating road vehicles, despite combustion-engined road cars dominating the course. A little-known firm beat Tesla and Rimac in the 0-60 race, beat F1 vehicles on a circuit, and boasts a 350-mile driving range. The McMurtry Spéirling is completely insane.
Mat Watson of CarWow, a YouTube megastar, was recently handed a Spéirling and access to Silverstone Circuit (view video above). Mat ran a quarter-mile on Silverstone straight with former F1 driver Max Chilton. The little pocket-rocket automobile touched 100 mph in 2.7 seconds, completed the quarter mile in 7.97 seconds, and hit 0-60 in 1.4 seconds. When looking at autos quickly, 0-60 times can seem near. The Tesla Model S Plaid does 0-60 in 1.99 seconds, which is comparable to the Spéirling. Despite the meager statistics, the Spéirling is nearly 30% faster than Plaid!
My vintage VW Golf 1.4s has an 8.8-second 0-60 time, whereas a BMW Z4 3.0i is 30% faster (with a 0-60 time of 6 seconds). I tried to beat a Z4 off the lights in my Golf, but the Beamer flew away. If they challenge the Spéirling in a Model S Plaid, they'll feel as I did. Fast!
Insane quarter-mile drag time. Its road car record is 7.97 seconds. A Dodge Demon, meant to run extremely fast quarter miles, finishes so in 9.65 seconds, approximately 20% slower. The Rimac Nevera's 8.582-second quarter-mile record was miles behind drag racing. This run hampered the Spéirling. Because it was employing gearing that limited its top speed to 150 mph, it reached there in a little over 5 seconds without accelerating for most of the quarter mile! McMurtry can easily change the gearing, making the Spéirling run quicker.
McMurtry did this how? First, the Spéirling is a tiny single-seater EV with a 60 kWh battery pack, making it one of the lightest EVs ever. The 1,000-hp Spéirling has more than one horsepower per kg. The Nevera has 0.84 horsepower per kg and the Plaid 0.44.
However, you cannot simply construct a car light and power it. Instead of accelerating, it would spin. This makes the Spéirling a fan car. Its huge fans create massive downforce. These fans provide the Spéirling 2 tonnes of downforce while stationary, so you could park it on the ceiling. Its fast 0-60 time comes from its downforce, which lets it deliver all that power without wheel spin.
It also possesses complete downforce at all speeds, allowing it to tackle turns faster than even race vehicles. Spéirlings overcame VW IDRs and F1 cars to set the Goodwood Hill Climb record (read more here). The Spéirling is a dragstrip winner and track dominator, unlike the Plaid and Nevera.
The Spéirling is astonishing for a single-seater. Fan-generated downforce is more efficient than wings and splitters. It also means the vehicle has very minimal drag without the fan. The Spéirling can go 350 miles per charge (WLTP) or 20-30 minutes at full speed on a track despite its 60 kWh battery pack. The G-forces would hurt your neck before the battery died if you drove around a track for longer. The Spéirling can charge at over 200 kW in about 30 minutes. Thus, driving to track days, having fun, and returning is possible. Unlike other high-performance EVs.
Tesla, Rimac, or Lucid will struggle to defeat the Spéirling. They would need to build a fan automobile because adding power to their current vehicle would make it uncontrollable. The EV and automobile industries now have a new, untouchable performance king.
8 months ago
The Unlocking Of The Ultimate Clean Energy
The company seeking 24/7 ultra-powerful solar electricity.
We're rushing to adopt low-carbon energy to prevent a self-made doomsday. We're using solar, wind, and wave energy. These low-carbon sources aren't perfect. They consume large areas of land, causing habitat loss. They don't produce power reliably, necessitating large grid-level batteries, an environmental nightmare. We can and must do better than fossil fuels. Longi, one of the world's top solar panel producers, is creating a low-carbon energy source. Solar-powered spacecraft. But how does it work? Why is it so environmentally harmonious? And how can Longi unlock it?
Space-based solar makes sense. Satellites above Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) enjoy 24/7 daylight. Outer space has no atmosphere or ozone layer to block the Sun's high-energy UV radiation. Solar panels can create more energy in space than on Earth due to these two factors. Solar panels in orbit can create 40 times more power than those on Earth, according to estimates.
How can we utilize this immense power? Launch a geostationary satellite with solar panels, then beam power to Earth. Such a technology could be our most eco-friendly energy source. (Better than fusion power!) How?
Solar panels create more energy in space, as I've said. Solar panel manufacture and grid batteries emit the most carbon. This indicates that a space-solar farm's carbon footprint (which doesn't need a battery because it's a constant power source) might be over 40 times smaller than a terrestrial one. Combine that with carbon-neutral launch vehicles like Starship, and you have a low-carbon power source. Solar power has one of the lowest emissions per kWh at 6g/kWh, so space-based solar could approach net-zero emissions.
Space solar is versatile because it doesn't require enormous infrastructure. A space-solar farm could power New York and Dallas with the same efficiency, without cables. The satellite will transmit power to a nearby terminal. This allows an energy system to evolve and adapt as the society it powers changes. Building and maintaining infrastructure can be carbon-intensive, thus less infrastructure means less emissions.
Space-based solar doesn't destroy habitats, either. Solar and wind power can be engineered to reduce habitat loss, but they still harm ecosystems, which must be restored. Space solar requires almost no land, therefore it's easier on Mother Nature.
Space solar power could be the ultimate energy source. So why haven’t we done it yet?
Well, for two reasons: the cost of launch and the efficiency of wireless energy transmission.
Advances in rocket construction and reusable rocket technology have lowered orbital launch costs. In the early 2000s, the Space Shuttle cost $60,000 per kg launched into LEO, but a SpaceX Falcon 9 costs only $3,205. 95% drop! Even at these low prices, launching a space-based solar farm is commercially questionable.
Energy transmission efficiency is half of its commercial viability. Space-based solar farms must be in geostationary orbit to get 24/7 daylight, 22,300 miles above Earth's surface. It's a long way to wirelessly transmit energy. Most laser and microwave systems are below 20% efficient.
Space-based solar power is uneconomical due to low efficiency and high deployment costs.
Longi wants to create this ultimate power. But how?
They'll send solar panels into space to develop space-based solar power that can be beamed to Earth. This mission will help them design solar panels tough enough for space while remaining efficient.
Longi is a Chinese company, and China's space program and universities are developing space-based solar power and seeking commercial partners. Xidian University has built a 98%-efficient microwave-based wireless energy transmission system for space-based solar power. The Long March 5B is China's super-cheap (but not carbon-offset) launch vehicle.
Longi fills the gap. They have the commercial know-how and ability to build solar satellites and terrestrial terminals at scale. Universities and the Chinese government have transmission technology and low-cost launch vehicles to launch this technology.
It may take a decade to develop and refine this energy solution. This could spark a clean energy revolution. Once operational, Longi and the Chinese government could offer the world a flexible, environmentally friendly, rapidly deployable energy source.
Should the world adopt this technology and let China control its energy? I'm not very political, so you decide. This seems to be the beginning of tapping into this planet-saving energy source. Forget fusion reactors. Carbon-neutral energy is coming soon.
10 months ago
10 hard lessons from founding a startup.
Here is the ugly stuff, read this if you have a founder in your life or are trying to become one. Your call.
#1 You'll try to talk yourself to sleep, but it won't always work.
As founders, we're all driven. Good and bad, you're restless. Success requires resistance and discipline. Your startup will be on your mind 24/7, and not everyone will have the patience to listen to your worries, ideas, and coffee runs. You become more self-sufficient than ever before.
#2 No one will understand what you're going through unless they've been a founder.
Some of my closest friends don't understand the work that goes into starting a business, and we can't blame them.
#3 You'll feel alienated.
Your problems aren't common; calling your bestie won't help. You must search hard for the right resources. It alienates you from conversations you no longer relate to. (No 4th of July, no long weekends!)
#4 Since you're your "own boss," people assume you have lots of free time.
Do you agree? I was on a webinar with lots of new entrepreneurs, and one woman said, "I started my own business so I could have more time for myself." This may be true for some lucky people, and you can be flexible with your schedule. If you want your business to succeed, you'll probably be its slave for a while.
#5 No time for illness or family emergencies.
Both last month. Oh, no! Physically and emotionally withdrawing at the worst times will give you perspective. I learned this the hard way because I was too stubborn to postpone an important interview. I thought if I rested all day and only took one call, I'd be fine. Nope. I had a fever and my mind wasn't as sharp, so my performance and audience interaction suffered. Nope. Better to delay than miss out.
Oh, and setting a "OoO" makes you cringe.
#6 Good luck with your mental health, perfectionists.
When building a startup, it's difficult to accept that there won't be enough time to do everything. You can't make them all, not perfectly. You must learn to accept things that are done but not perfect.
#7 As a founder, you'll make mistakes, but you'll want to make them quickly so you can learn.
Hard lessons are learned quicker. You'll need to pivot and try new things often; some won't work, and it's best to discover them sooner rather than later.
#8 Pyramid schemes abound.
I didn't realize how bad it was until I started a company. You must spy and constantly research. As a founder, you'll receive many emails from people claiming to "support" you. Be wary and keep your eyes open. When it's too good to be true. Some "companies" will try to get you to pay for "competitions" to "pitch at events." Don't do it.
#9 Keep your competitor research to a minimum.
Actually, competition is good. It means there's a market for those solutions. However, this can be mentally exhausting too. Learn about their geography and updates, but that's it.
#10 You'll feel guilty taking vacation.
I don't know what to say, but I no longer enjoy watching TV, and that's okay. Pay attention to things that enrich you, bring you joy, and have fun. It boosts creativity.
Being a startup founder may be one of the hardest professional challenges you face, but it's also a great learning experience. Your passion will take you places you never imagined and open doors to opportunities you wouldn't have otherwise. You'll meet amazing people. No regrets, no complaints. It's a roller coaster, but the good days are great.
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