Steve Jobs on problem solving1:
When you first look at a problem it seems easy because you don’t know much about it. Then you get into the problem and see it’s really complicated and come up with lots of convoluted solutions.
Most people stop there, but the key is to keep going until you find the underlying principle of the problem and come full circle with a beautiful elegant solution that works.
It’s tempting when solving a problem to use the first solution that works and move on. Indeed with deadlines and external pressures this often feels like the only choice.
But if possible it’s worth taking the time to understand the problem at a deeper level. Understand what the underlying principle is. When you understand this you can understand what a more elegant solution to the problem will look like.