We rarely need what we aren’t already looking for.

Do you see the crucial difference between the following pairs?

a) Realizing you have a specific problem, and then searching for the solution to that problem.

b) Seeing an advertisement and thinking “I do have that [trivial problem that I never realized I had], I should buy this!”

a) Shopping with a list of specific items to buy, and only buying what is on the list.

b) Shopping without a list, and buying anything that looks useful.

a) “I have problem X. What is the best solution?”

b) “Is it possible that Y could be useful to me?”

——

(a) consists of examples of thinking forwards: When the problem causes a search for its solution.

(b) on the other hand, consists of examples of thinking backwards: When a solution causes a search for its problem.

But why should a solution cause you to search for its problem? If a problem is important, wouldn’t you already be looking, deliberately, for the best solution? If you really needed it, you likely would’ve already known you needed it.

In my experience, the solutions I implement according to thought process (b) have been invariably less useful than the solutions I implement according to thought process (a).

Problems should generate their solutions, not the other way around. Think forwards.