Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Solve Big Problems With Small Thinking

War. Inequality. Discrimination. Unemployment. Corruption. Nasty problems we just can’t seem to solve even though we’ve been trying for generations. 

Sure, we’ve made headway, but we just can’t seem to get rid of them entirely.


Because they’re big. 

And big problems are difficult to solve.

They’re vast and ignore man-made borders. A problem that impacts people of different cultures, backgrounds and incentives, makes them too complex to solve with a single solution. 

Big problems are also tied to old traditions and customs that have ossified.

Take corruption.

Changing laws that guide government accountability, means changing something that’s been done for centuries. 

In cases like this, getting everyone involved on the same team is even more difficult than finding the silver bullet. 

The more of us involved, the more likely we’ll have conflicting views.

Finally, big problems demand a lot of resources: time, money, manpower and optimism. Nothing makes you lose hope quicker than attacking a problem that doesn’t budge.

So why not go small?

Peel off a piece from the big problem and solve that.

They don’t cover as much ground. This means that you can more easily find all the information you need.

They involve less people. Convincing a few thousand people to see things your way is easier than a few billion.

And a smaller problem can usually be solved without needing the budget and labour of a small nation.

Plus, if enough people peel off enough pieces of the problem, you will eventually have nothing left.

Don’t feel bad for thinking small. It’s usually more effective anyway.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach