We have this tendency to think things are much simpler than they are. Brad Frost pointed this out a few months ago with his piece here on the Pastry Box about the word “just”.

We say it to individuals, but also to groups of people, to organizations, to entire industries.

"Why don’t you just…"

Fix your websites. Improve this archaic process. Use this new technology.

We’re a community of problem solvers, and that’s a great skill to have. But we can’t solve problems we don’t actually understand. And much as we might be loathe to admit it, problem solving isn’t simply a matter of coming up with the right answer. Truly solving a problem requires finding a solution that can actually be implemented with the resources at hand.

I’m as guilty of this as anyone, believe me. Somewhere along the way, my critical-thinking skills got distilled down to looking at a situation and asking, “Why is this broken?” or “Where did they make the wrong assumptions?”

Those questions introduce assumptions of their own though; that I know more about this problem than the people living with it, for one.

These days, I’m trying to take a step back and ask, “How did this come to be?” instead. “What am I not seeing here?” is a nice follow up.

Next time you’re tempted to jump in with a “Why don’t you just…” I invite you to do the same.

Dive Deeper

If you want to know more about the Pastry Box Project, you can read about the genesis (and goals) of the project.

Swim In The Stream

A stream of all the thoughts published on the Pastry Box Project is available. Keep it open somewhere, and lose yourself in it whenever you feel like it.

Meet Your Host

There are not only pieces of software talking to each other behind this website. There is a human, too. The Pastry Box is brought to you by Alex Duloz.

Stay Tuned

You can follow @thepastrybox on Twitter. For direct inquiries, get in touch with @alexduloz.