I love simple yet clever solutions to problems.
There’s a story about the early days of the New York rag-trade after World War II. The district in lower Manhattan, with all the famous luxury couture brands in a square mile. Midtown Manhattan from Sixth Avenue to Ninth Avenue and 35th Street to 40th Street.
During the district’s heyday, vehicles jammed the roadways, prepping to ship clothes across the country. Workers pushed and pulled around hand racks. Clothes hanging and stacked all over as they scrambled to haul materials to the next factory.
A gang of thieves had been doing the rounds in the area. This gang was slick and organised. They would break into the warehouses at night, making off with truckloads of stock. The police were always one step behind, always arriving after they left. For months, the police couldn’t catch a break on the case.
Then, after one robbery, a worker at the warehouse noticed something. The thieves left behind all the rolling racks. They checked previous robberies and found the same thing. The worker explained how easy it was to unload a whole rack at once. Grab all the clothes in your arms, lift the wire hangers off the central pole, and load the pile into the truck. The thieves could load up and make a clean getaway long before the police arrive.
They came up with a cunning plan to catch the robber’s red-handed at their next attempt. Instead of hanging the hangers all in one direction, they alternated the hanger hooks. The whole district adopted the new way of hanging their creations on the racks. A few weeks later, the police caught the criminals in the act, still trying to get the clothes off the racks.
By crisscrossing hangers, each item of clothing had to be removed individually. This slowed the process enough for the police to respond to the alarm.
Thinking logically isn’t only reserved for clever and educated people. You can learn how to think logically, it’s not genetic. My older Brother had a penchant for making nearly every task one that needs to be solved further. There must be an easier way. By looking at the world through these lenses, he often found clever ways to make tasks quicker and easier. He baulked at any repetitive operation. The schemes he conjured up were ingenious ways to automate any mundane task.
There’s something magical about believing, “There must be a better way.”
It has been proven that specific training in logical thinking processes can make people “smarter.” Logical thinking allows a child to reject quick answers, such as, “I don’t know,” or “this is too difficult.” By empowering them to delve deeper into their thinking processes, they can arrive at a solution.
My Son displayed the same trait to solve problems from an early age. He can look at the steps involved in a process and make connections others don’t see. For as long as he has been “ working” for money-since the age of 14-he has challenged the, “ The way it’s always been done.”
He questions why it’s done that way and sets about finding an easier way.
The ability to think logically starts with believing there is a solution to any problem. Then organise the steps to get there. Give it a try, you might surprise yourself with your ability to make your life easier and simpler.
Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄
As always, thanks for reading 🙏
Originally published at https://www.leapfirst.co.za on June 18, 2021.