Monday, July 29, 2013

Problem solving

நோய்நாடி நோய்முதல் நாடி அதுதணிக்கும்
வாய்னாடி வாய்ப்பச் செயல் (948)

Rough translation.

Identify the disease. Identify the root cause. Identify the ways to treat it. Treat it.

One of my all time favorite Thirukkural. It succinctly outlines the template to problem solving. Not only does he give the steps, but he has also managed to convey the sequence in which it must be approached, with an emphasis on actually executing/acting on it by making sure he got the "Treat It" bit in the last.

This can be applied in many places. I used this kural to illustrate the art of debugging (much to the amusement of my classmates)  in one of the Seminars I gave in my post graduation days. Identify/Acknowledge the defect, perform a root cause analysis, identify solutions to fix the defect, choose the most optimal one after considering cost/benefit, fix it. 

In the context of self improvement, the most important and difficult thing to do is to identifying the problem. Most of us will not even realize that there is a problem. Even if we do realize, that there is a problem, how often do we accept that the problem is with us? We are so adept at placing the blame on others! Many of us blame someone else or the Stars above, or the "bad time", or even sometimes God! 

My earlier post about thirukkural