Press for a Better Solution

Psychological tests fascinate me. Our brain has incredible capabilities and more is being discovered about it each day.

I was sent an article the other day that discussed the battle that goes on inside our head. Let me explain:

There is something that’s called the “wisdom of crowds.” It works this way. If you ask two people to solve a problem like, “How many beans are in the jar?” usually the average of the guesses of the two people will be closer to the right number than either of the guesses individually. The more people you ask, the more precisely the average centers on the right answer.

Two psychologists, Edward Vul at MIT and Harold Pashler at the University of California-San Diego, decided to see if the same thing would happen if a person guessed twice. They found in fact, it did. Ask a person for one answer early and a second later, the answers would get better.

This supports an idea that we kick around from time to time. When we encounter a problem, we will work it until we get to a solution which takes the “urgency” of the problem away. And, then we stop.

These tests reinforce several ideas: The first answer is not always the best answer. Stopping and pressing the first solution will frequently lead us to a better solution.

Second, getting several ideas from multiple sources will lead us to better solutions.

All of us are smarter than each of us. Build in the discipline to press for a better solution. Press by asking yourself, what else can we do? Press by asking others, how would you solve this problem?