Solve the most important problem you can personally influence - Paras

Jiedao jdon 2021-10-14 06:43:40

Choosing the problem to solve is a function of attention . No matter where you focus , Whatever you focus on , Will reveal to you the problems in this field . Solving these revealed problems will attract you , And it will reveal more problems worth solving in this field .

Because every field of life has such rich content , So it's easy to get lost in this feedback loop , Solve one problem after another in that field in a lifetime . in fact , This is it. ( Traditionally ) Meaning of occupation . If one notices and realizes this , So there's nothing wrong with going deep into a utilitarian market . however , In my experience , Few people consciously choose the problem to be solved , Because few people consciously choose what to pay attention to .

It is more likely that the opposite is true , A person's attention is accidentally or an entity engaged in a compelling business ( The media 、 Influencer 、 Parents 、 friend ) Attracted by the . Incredibly , such Eye catching behavior determines what problems they can find in the world .

An example is college students' Entrepreneurship . They often revolve around university problems , Like dating 、 Internship 、 Work, etc. . Take Facebook for example . It started because of mark · Zuckerberg wants to create a student directory , It will eventually help improve his dating life . As far as I'm concerned , My first two startups revolved around college life —— One is the catalogue of Indian university bands , The other is the student project platform . Were they my best investments at the time ? No , But those were the only problems I could realize at that time , Because my attention is attracted by the world created by my college experience .

I now understand , Given the time we share 、 Energy and bandwidth are limited , Solving important problems is more worth investing in than solving any problem of concern . Why do things turn out like this? ? This is because all the questions are detailed enough , Become interesting and interesting . If the fun of solving problems is more or less the same , I should give priority to solving the problems that lead to greater and extraordinary improvements in the world ( Instead of solving problems that lead to smaller 、 Trivial improvement problems ).

therefore , To judge the importance of the problem , Please see if the expected improvements in the world are solved .

however , How to judge what progress is in the world ? What yardstick should be used to measure ? ok , Do that , You need to cultivate knowledge of the world “ good ” or “ bad ” Belief . Without your own beliefs , You will accept other people's beliefs , This will lead you to invest time in solving problems you don't think are important .

In order to find out what you think of the progress in the world , I suggest sitting down and writing down your code of ethics . The gap between the world we have today and what you think is a better world will help reveal important problems to you . for example , I prefer the world with less suffering , It will immediately reveal a large number of important issues , For example, animal husbandry 、 depression 、 Child mortality, etc .

Your code of ethics may be completely different from mine , We don't have to agree on which issues are important . It is important to be careful to know which issues are important , Not through the influences around ( social media 、 colleagues 、 Industry influencer 、 The media ) Solve any problems that come to your attention .


To make a long story short , The importance of most problems varies , But most problems are similar in the fun of solving them . So why not choose to solve important problems ?

A warning here is , It's easy to indulge in trying to find the most important problem worth solving . Although such exercises help to clarify where time is spent , But it should not lead to inaction . Climate change, 、 The most obvious and important problems, such as poverty or cancer, are also problems with limited potential for any personal impact . If many smart and motivated people try to solve problems but fail completely , So by default , You should assume that you will get similar results . Confidence is good , But cognitive bias is not good . Be a good Bayesian and understand how to solve cancer or climate change , If you encounter difficulties . These are complex phenomena , There is no easy solution .


The following rule of thumb is recommended : Choose a problem where importance and manageability intersect .


It may sound obvious , But it's hard at the crossroads . Manageable problems are attractive , Because they belong to our comfort zone ( But it will not necessarily improve the world ). Important questions are attractive , Because they Herald great progress in the world ( But it may not solve ).

What helps to select important issues that are easy to deal with is , Considering the importance of the problem, it is not an accurate mathematical ranking , It's a broad label , It can be applied to many interrelated problems . for example , Even if you can't solve the problem of climate change yourself , But it can protect forests from being razed to the ground or invent more efficient batteries , You should also see it as a worthwhile investment in life . You are not frustrated by the difficulty of solving climate change , It has no effect on what you think is important . You don't spend time in a relatively unimportant field ( From the perspective of your own belief system ) Solve a small problem .

You chose the biggest manageable problem in the area you considered important and solved it . That's what really matters , You should be proud of it .

banq Comment on : What problem is more important to solve than the problem itself But what is important depends on the global perspective , Man is not God , There can be no God's perspective , It's better to solve the problems within your cognitive range , God may give you a chance , mark · Zuckerberg created Facebook Success is such a case , At the beginning, his vision was to solve the problems in his cognitive world , But I didn't expect to be able to expand to important problems all over the world , He can only get into the context of what he considers important first , Be in it, keep learning and making progress , Will discover the more important problems of all mankind , Context is king .


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