3 min read
The start of Problem Traversal Theory
August 19, 2023
When one thinks of problems, most feel they are a negative aspect of life that should be avoided, while others see them as opportunities for growth that should be actively pursued.
No matter which side you fall on, problems are an unavoidable aspect of life.
Dealing with them is as fundamental to the human condition as breathing, but the usefulness of each solved problem isn’t as evident as each breath we take.
All of the subjectivity surrounding problems leaves a lot of ambiguity for people, just like you and me, to get lost in——spending their precious time solving problems that don’t need solutions.
How do I know this?
Well in 2017, I learned of a failed startup valued at $120 million called Juicero.
The story of this company, created to solve a non-problem, captivated me, but I was hooked less on what put them out of business and more on this idea that many people were working on problems that felt real to them that weren’t.
I needed to know how this was possible.
I needed to know how a bunch of incredibly talented people could come together and over-engineer such a complex piece of machinery for no reason.
This stuck with me because I’ve seen, and had been a part of, many situations where a problem was taken extremely seriously only to not matter.
While mentoring colleagues through these types of situations, I coined the term ”Juicero Problem” to represent a frequent scenario that occurs when someone’s “real” problem is spawned from an ancestor that is ill-defined, wrong, or nonexistent.
After seeing the positive impact of raising awareness of this hidden and expensive phenomenon, I wanted to become a problems specialist to continue helping others with them, but I didn’t know where to start.
The timeless concept “mastery comes from mastering the basics” has been echoed by experts throughout history from Aristotle to Bruce Lee, but if you want to become an extraordinary problem expert, where do you begin?
What are the fundamentals of a problem you need to master to become a master of them?
At the start of my journey while seeking the answer to this question, I came across many definitions for problem, but none decomposed the idea down to the atomic level I hoped to study.
So I devoted many years of my life and developed my own mechanistic understanding of problems instead that I call Problem Traversal Theory.
Now, I’m sharing my theory, discoveries, and techniques with you to increase your ability to solve root problems, create lasting change, and improve lives—starting with your own.