I’ve never been particularly successful with new year resolutions. So in setting my intentions on what I want to focus on in 2023, I wanted to use the concept of 12 favourite problems. The concept is based on the Nobel winning scientist Richard Feynman’s unique approach to problem solving.
My approach to problem-solving is to carry around a dozen interesting problems, and a dozen interesting solutions to unrelated problems, and eventually, I’ll be able to make connections. […]. Every time you hear a new trick or a new result, test it against each of your twelve problems to see whether it helps. Every once in a while there will be a hit, and people will say, ‘How did he do it? He must be a genius!’Richard Feynman
Once you have a problem on your mind, you set your intentions on what things to pay attention to. Instead of mindlessly consuming the next piece of content that pops up on your feed, keep an eye for anything that helps you answer your favourite questions.
Here are my favourite problems in no particular order:
- How do I improve my writing skills and build a writing habit while adding value to my readers?
- What is my personal monopoly? What is my unique intersection of skills, interests and personality traits where I can be known as the best thinker on a topic?
- How do I nurture my hobby of snowboarding and become a better snowboarder?
- What does it look like to develop a daily routine for improved fitness?
- How can I use the advancements in generative AI to ease my life?
- What does it look like to overcome the visa bottleneck in this Land of Dreams?
- How do I enjoy the process of cooking healthy meals daily?
- How can I enjoy more quality time with friends and family as an introvert?
- How do I navigate a slow-paced work environment and become a better engineer?
- How do I pursue and keep up with the advancements of Industry 4.0?
The last two are personal and I will keep those to myself for now.
These aren’t goals, but signposts to satiate my curiosity and give me a direction for the year ahead. But I’m excited to use these problems as a compass to direct my attention and curiosity. I’ll also come back in 6 months to review them and see if they are still relevant.
P.S: If you are curious to know more about the concept and how to come up with you own questions, here is a nice article by Tiago Forte.