I’m sure all of us have seen a cross section of a rock or a soil sample, which shows layers representing time and history. Effective problem solving requires you to understand that the solution may be in the past. Knowledge of the past gives you a means to understand the way things are now and gives you the means to solve the problem now.
We build monuments to commemorate those who died at the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon in Washington DC and even in Oklahoma City. We feel as if this is the worst of times. Remember the Alamo, Pearl Harbor, The Holocaust, The Civil War, World War 1, World War 11, Korea, Viet Nam, The Crusades, Napoleon and countless other events in history, all of which must have seemed like the end of the world for those who experienced it.
To fully understand these events you must peel back the layers of time to peer into the reasons each event happened. Just like in a game of chess, each move a player makes causes the opponent to make a move in response. Over time the facts get fuzzy and history is usually written by the victorious. I remember visiting the Alamo and my first comment was, “Look at how low the walls are!” One can only assume that any fort built after the fall of the Alamo would have been built with taller walls. But why were they so low?
I remember visiting a ship built in the 1800’s that was anchored in New York Harbor many years ago as a floating museum. The one thing I still remember was that the ceiling height in all the rooms was less that six foot high causing many visitors to walk hunched over. Again why would they build it so low? The answer is buried in the history of mankind. The average height of someone living in that era was well below six feet so it was fine for them.
When a problem presents itself to you whether it be in life or business the answer is always there but you may have to do some research to uncover the solution and have a full understanding of what caused the problem in the first place. Look behind the obvious. Dig a little deeper for cause and effect.
How many times have you heard from an employee or a boss “We’ve been doing it this way forever” If you feel the need to change the method, do the research and find out why it is done the current way, then make suggestions based on a fully educated position. Examine your own life and question some things you or your family members have been doing for generations. You will be amazed at some of the actions you take in your daily life that your parents did and your grandparents did too. Some of actions have their origins in the conditions set in the times of your ancestors. Peel back the layers of time to find the future.