*You know that the password is eight numbers long, but you don't remember what it is.If you're using the trial and error method of problem-solving, then you would just try any random combination of letters and numbers until something works.*

*You know that the password is eight numbers long, but you don't remember what it is.*If you're using the trial and error method of problem-solving, then you would just try any random combination of letters and numbers until something works.Just a few seconds ago, you figured out how to start this video, and that may not feel like a huge accomplishment compared to, say, coming up with the theory of relativity, but every time you engage in an action or thought pattern to move from your current state toward a goal state, you're solving a problem.

Another example of it is if you've ever done a maze and started at the end and worked your way backwards toward the beginning. What if I gave you these six matches and asked you to use them to draw four equilateral triangles? If you had trouble solving that problem, you're not alone.

Most people get stuck on thinking about this problem in a two-dimensional way. The answer, though, requires you to think about the problem in three dimensions.

A heuristic is a mental shortcut that allows us to find a solution more quickly than the other two methods we've talked about so far.

For example, you probably made a password out of familiar number combinations, so you might try something that includes your birthday or something else that stands out in your mind.

You need to create a triangle pyramid with the six matches in order to form four equilateral triangles.

If you did solve that problem, try to think about how the solution came to you.Well-defined problems have a clear starting and ending point, such as how to make it bright in a room that's currently dark.You know exactly what you're starting with and exactly how you wanna end up.Insight is tricky, it's hard to predict, and harder to encourage, particularly when you're fixated on seeing a problem from the same ineffective perspective.If you do get stuck on a problem, you can let it incubate, or just sit in your mind while you're not really thinking about it. It's like when you're trying to think of the name of that actor in a movie you saw, but it only comes to you later that night after you thought you stopped thinking about it.A more methodical approach would be to use the algorithm strategy.An algorithm is a logical, step-by-step procedure of trying solutions until you hit on the right one.You probably didn't do a series of step-by-step arrangements of matches, and the heuristics we've talked about don't quite work.What probably happened is something called insight, which is that sudden aha moment when the solution just pops into your head.This drastically reduces the number of solutions we need to try because it eliminates any unlikely ones right off the bat.Heuristics don't guarantee a correct solution, but they do simplify complex problems and reduce the total number of solutions that we'll try in order to get to a more manageable number.

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