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Welcome to Michael's blog. Michael Andrew, (aka Michael The Maven) is a freelance producer, photography instructor, tech innovator, and when needed, disaster aid specialist. Disclaimer: Michael is a participant in Bhphoto & Amazon affiliate programs that provides an advertising commission if you purchase through links on this website.


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09.11.07         personal  

Variation in Problem Solving


“If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you have always got.”

I am not sure who said that but I have been thinking a lot recently about why it is when we are faced with a problem, sometimes we think if we do the same thing over and over again, somehow, we will get different results.

How often do we watch football teams run the same play over and over when it never works? Maybe they hoping for luck….I don’t know.

I have seen some photographers take 40 or more pictures of the same exact setting (not people), without changing any of their camera settings. With the lighting and subjects being the same….um….why would it look different from one photograph to the next?

How often do we approach our workouts with the same exact workout we did last time. Muscles learn and remember, if you don’t change it up, you wont make any significant gains.

I was listening to the audio tapes of Think and Grow Rich yesterday on the way home, and something caught my attention when the narrator said “when you are faced with a problem, change something and try again.” I think we have also all heard the quote that “hell is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.

Humans are emotional, we swallow rejection, feel the sickness of pain and suddenly we stop thinking. That is where the real problem lies….we stop thinking. Still eager to try we figure some action is better than none, and repeat our ineffective approach only to fail again. So often this continues until we give up completely.

In Jurassic Park, there was a point when they were inspecting an electrical fence and the professor concluded that the Raptors were systematically probing the fence for a weakness by throwing their bodies against it until they found it…and they did.

It’s kind of a cool way to think about approaching problems…throw yourself at the problem, and if the way you chose didn’t work, try a different area of attack.

I am a big believer of using methods and techniques that are proven, on the other hand; I also believe that no matter what you are doing, you can do it better. Once you believe you have “arrived” you stop learning. Stay green.....there is so much to learn!

With Photography, I try to shoot 75% using techniques I know work, and 25% experimentation / variation. Though most of my photography experiments usually don’t turn out, I usually get several images that do, and often they are incredible. They then become part of the 75% of the techniques that do work. Its like shopping for new ideas.

I see no reason why these principles wouldn’t apply to every aspect in life.

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