revisiting problems



~2 min read


351 words

Today, I sat down to work on a problem. It wasn’t a new problem. In fact, it was a relatively old one.

I’d spent months, if not years, working on it. Or if not it specifically, problems related to it. Not all the time, and certainly not consistently. But still, it’d been there. And it had been for a while now.

Today was different. I’m not sure why it was different, but it was. I had set the problem down last a few months ago after my latest experiments failed and had let it simmer.

Coming back to it this time, the answers seemed clear. My ability to troubleshoot road blocks was better. Whatever the problem was, I was able to get past it.

Now, I can move onto the next set of problems.

I don’t know if today is replicable. I don’t fully understand it. What I do know, however, is that it’s not the first time that some time and a bit of distance from a problem has provided clarity.

That is a truth that I’ve observed time and again. It’s a truth that spans disciplines. I see it most within programming - whether that’s because programming is somehow uniquely suited for it or because I’ve had more programming problems than other kinds in the past few years is an open question.

Whatever the case, today was just a great reminder that when I start running into a problem, stop. Pause. Take a breath. Then, after I’ve allowed my mind to settle a bit, to work on it in the background, I can return to it. And if that doesn’t work, try pausing again.

Simply trying to run through a problem doesn’t work. Time works.

One of the best things about getting older is that I start to view time as an asset and ally. Something that I can rely on and use. Yes, it’s the most precious resource I have and I’m absolutely not advocating wasting it. The opposite in fact. Relish it. Relish time and what it can do for you - if you allow it to.

Hi there and thanks for reading! My name's Stephen. I live in Chicago with my wife, Kate, and dog, Finn. Want more? See about and get in touch!