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First step to solving a problem, which is the most important step and is usually overlooked, is problem identification. This my sound like a simple thing but when facing a challenge it usually not easy to stop and think, “What could be the actual cause of the problem?” For instance, you’re driving your car into your garage and you notice a flat tyre, first instinct is to change it, right? You go ahead and you change it and as you’re reversing you feel your tyre puncture again, this time you realize you haven’t solved the problem because you haven’t truly identified it, and so unless you first find out what caused the flat tyre, all your attempts may be futile, you notice a nail or sharp object lying around.

Removing might be a quick fix too but knowing how it got there might be the actual problem, kids might have been playing with it and the likes, unless you get to that root, you’ll change tyres till you die, ok that’s an exaggeration but you get the picture. This step goes to almost if not every problem you may face, first identify it.

Today I was trying to upload a big file to a server and that’s not supposed to be a huge task, 500mb max and I was doing so via the cpanel and it kept cancelling midway, I tried different methods of uploading the file, used an ftp client and it kept stopping midway as well so this tussle went on for about 3 hours straight trying to figure why the ftp client is stopping midway and why the cpanel won’t continue but I kept at it, at times thinking it was probably my internet connection that wasn’t fast enough, but the speed shouldn’t be an issue for an FTP client.

3 hours later and 6 GB of data wasted I later on decided to check how much space is left on the server only to discover only 100MB are left and here I was trying to fit 500MB of a zip file into it, to think I hadn’t bothered to check the server log files and after I did they show that there wasn’t enough space for my file. I was basically trying to fit an elephant in a puppy’s kennel, lesson learnt the hard way.

Problem identification goes for every kind of challenge or problem, for a person tries to commit suicide for example, stopping them might be a good idea but once they’re alone again they might try and do it again, getting to the root of why they tried to do so and fixing that first would be the first step. Problems can be social issues, offices politics, technical issues such as a bug in your code, a certain ailment or sickness, the list can go on, problem identification is still important.

Most of the time what we end up facing is the effect or the result of the problem and we usually try and solve that. How important this first step is, we must take a moment to think, “What is the actual cause of this problem” before we wake up and realize how much money, time, resources and effort we have wasted we should take time to think or investigate until we can truly identify what the actual problem that caused the effect that you now eventually feel.

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