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Krzysztof Platis
Krzysztof Platis

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Seek ideal solutions by thinking backwards: from the goal to the starting point ⏮

Let your imagination run wild: How does the ideal solution to your problem look like? Write down it’s perfect characteristics (no matter they may seem contradicting with each other at the first sight). Then visualize you already achieved it and answer: What was the last step I had to make to get there? Write it down. Next: And what was the step just before the last step? Then repeat until you find you’re very close to the starting point, where you are now.

If at the end you find any obstacles to get to the starting point, write them down. Next, answer: What are alternative ways to overcome the stumbling blocks? What are pros and cons of each workaround?

Does any of the workarounds satisfy you? If not, which one do you you find most optimal? Think if you can mitigate it’s disadvantages so they are not so painful.

Benefits of thinking backwards

The main benefit of thinking the way described above is it increases the likelihood of finding the perfect solution of your problem while minimizing the costs.

It’s because it helps to avoid the fixation on the known limitations and dangers. Focusing first on the current circumstances might mislead you. Your prejudices and old patterns of thinking can cut off paths of research that could lead you to a best possible solution. You may cut them off too early just because they don’t look attractive at the first sight (i.e. have some evident disadvantages). But then you might overlook the considerable benefits waiting for you at the end of this path that could dominate the obvious cons.

Summary

  • visualize your ideal solution
  • what was the last step to get there?
  • what was the previous and previous steps…?
  • reduce the cost of getting to the starting point where you are now

What are your methods of finding best possible solution?

I’m really interested in your ways of seeking the ideal solution. Please let me know about your tricks in the comments or message me on twitter! Thanks in advance!

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