Quote by Dan Roam on The Conquering Zero

Thursday Thoughts: Dan Roam

I can’t believe it’s Thursday already! Time seems to go by so much more quickly when I am in school and working on projects all the time. When I worked in a factory this past summer, the days dragged on and I couldn’t wait for the weekend to come. Now every day that passes is another day closer to my project deadlines! That’s okay though–I still love being in school. I do my best to step back once in a while and regain some perspective so that I don’t get discouraged by all of the work I have to do. I find that it helps me to think about the big picture and the overall objective of my schooling.

With all of this work to do and so little time to do it, new assignments can seem impossible to figure out. I am working on a project for Illustration class right now that requires some very technical shenanigans to get right. Problem-solving has already played a huge part in my digital concept work, as I found myself Googling how to use different tools to get the effects I wanted.

I love this quote from Dan Roam because it reveals the key to solving even the most complex problems:

Whoever best describes the problem, is the one most likely to solve it.

Dan Roam is a consultant and speaker who trains business people in how to solve complex problems by using visual mapping techniques. He wrote a bestselling book called The Back of the Napkin. The fact which he states in this quote is so simple and yet is a step we often seem to forget. If you can’t describe the problem, you don’t understand it. If you don’t understand it, you won’t be able to solve it.

I remember using this technique in high school and even as far back as elementary school–when I didn’t understand how to respond to an English prompt or solve a word problem, the teacher would ask me to put the problem in my own words. When I started tutoring, I realized why teaching a subject to someone else can be the best way to learn. I couldn’t state the problem a different way unless I fully comprehended the scope of the question.

I think I’m going to write out this quote and pin it to the bulletin board beside my desk to help me remember it for future assignments.

Till next time,




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