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There are 5 types of solutions

September 14, 2010

Not too long ago we talked about problems.  As a refresher, we said that there are only four types of problems.

1. You want something you don’t have (Want, Don’t Have)

2. You have something you don’t want (Have, Don’t Want)

3. You want to keep something that you are about to lose (Want to Keep, About to Lose)

4. You’re about to get something that you don’t want (Don’t Want, About to Get)

But what good is a problem – or better said, a clear understanding of your problem – without some possible solutions?  This is today’s lesson.


We’re all familiar with the general flavors of solutions.  The common characteristic to them all is that they require action.  However – and it is good to remind us here – that sometimes the right thing to do is to do nothing.  Not officially a solution, but sometimes procrastination is just what the doctor ordered.  But actual solutions require doing something.  Sometimes what must be done is simple.  Sometimes the deed is complicated and uncomfortable.  Other times, what should be done is the thing you used to do but for some reason don’t do anymore.  Or you have to keep doing what you’ve always done, but just do it better.  Or you need to do it, but more frequently and longer.  (I have an aunt that would be giggling right now if she was reading this).  There are also situations where you may be required to do the opposite of what you have or have not been doing.  And yet other times, what is required is not a sustained change in action, but a short-term course correction.  Did I mention that sometimes you just sit on your hands?  This all seems fairly complicated.  But wait, there’s more.  … And here is where we start getting tired and look to simplify things as much as we can.

It is doubtless that we should be able to reduce the list of possible solutions in similar form as we earlier distilled all of the world’s problems into just four classifications.  And so we shall.

Any problem will be solved by either repairing, improving, creating, promoting, or protecting.  Or, alternately but equally, by restoring, progressing, transforming, maintaining, or defending.

We present below Hugo’s Matrix of Problems and Solutions.

Hugo’s Matrix of

Problems & Solutions


Repair/ Restore Improve/ Progress Create/ Transform Promote/ Maintain Protect/ Defend
PROBLEM Want, Don’t Have X

Have, Don’t Want X

Want to Keep, About to Lose

Don’t Want, About to Get



As you can see after fully inspecting the matrix above, doing nothing is not a viable solution to a problem in itself.  Just as the absence of conflict is not peace, the absence of action will not bring about a solution.  Inaction is just that – a lack of action.  It is the gap between stimulus and response.  It merely marks the divide between the problem state and the solved state.


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