When Was the Last Time You Solved an Interesting Problem?

Since it’s back to school time it’s also time to rethink education. Seth Godin reminds us that education needs to be completely reformed. The schooling that our nation utilizes today was invented in the industrial age when factories needed compliant workers. Sit in your seats. Follow directions. Regurgitate what you learned in the text book. But in the new connection economy, Seth says, the best thing kids can learn is how to solve an interesting problem.


Can you imagine what it would be like if kids would be disappointed with snow days?  What if children would look forward to going to school so that they could continue the work on a problem they had left behind the previous day? Instead of providing answers teachers could keep on introducing new problems. Then they would lead and guide students to make discoveries on their own.

When was the last time you intentionally solved an interesting problem? The problems adults usually face are of the more serious kind. We don’t like to introduce problems into our lives. We’d rather get rid of them. It’s rare that we see a problem as “interesting.”

But just think about what it would be like if you would seek out interesting problems. Imagine how you would feel when you come to a creative solution for something you’ve always been curious about. What if you would keep your eyes open for problems that need a solution…problems that no one else has yet figured out?

Here are some ideas:

  • How can we make health care cheaper?
  • What’s an easier way for more people to write books?
  • How can churches be more effective at outreach?
  • What’s a more effective way for people to lose weight and keep it off?
  • How can people follow through on all of their goals?
  • What’s a better way for musicians to sell their music?

A problem is not something to fear or flee. A problem should be embraced. Even if it isn’t completely solved it can lead to discoveries. It will stimulate creativity. Free time will be filled with energy toward making something new.

It’s good for kids. And it’s good for adults. 

How can you embrace more interesting problems in your life?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “When Was the Last Time You Solved an Interesting Problem?

  1. Sometimes children still need to sit in their seats, listen and follow directions. They need background knowledge to be thoughtful problem solvers. Not all children have parents who teach them (not talking about homeschooling, just teaching in the moment from the day the child is born). Sorry, the frustrated teacher in me made this comment.

    • I wouldn’t argue with that whatsoever. However, I just wonder what school would be like if it were more than just teaching out of text books, and kids had the opportunity to solve real life problems, make mistakes that would help teach them, and learn from self discovery. Could be interesting!