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20 Learnings from Do One Thing Different

Category: Fantastic Reads

Bill O’Hanlon’s ‘Do One Thing Different’ has been a delight to read. It provides a creative way of solving problems. Numerous examples provided make it easy to understand and apply solutions. They also make this book a fun read. One reason why I loved this book is that rather than giving specific solution to specific problem, it hands us tools which we can use in any problem scenario to find our unique solution. It doesn’t matter what the problem is, chances are high that using these techniques effectively we will find a solution which works for us.

A short summary of ‘Do One Thing Different’:
“Don’t apply the same solution repeatedly and frustrate over not getting results. Same actions produce same results. Try something new. Most common approach to problem solving is answering the ‘why’ and finding some solution. Traditionally we look in the past, childhood experiences, behaviour, personality type, nature, external elements etc contributing to problem to find answer to our question ‘why does the problem occur’. Instead, Take a full 360 degree view of your problem. Who, when, where, what, how, why – find detailed answers to all of these – as if you have to teach someone to act out your problem. And tweak single/multiple aspect(s) to find a solution that works for you.”

While my notes seem to be never ending on different problem solving approaches I learnt from this book. Here are my Top 20 Learnings from Do One Thing Different:

1. Find out what you usually do when in problem and change your doing.

2. Find actions leading you to the problem and break the action series. Add some to the action series which will be good for you, which you would hate doing or takes time to do.

3. Focus on times you thought the problem would occur but it didn’t. Find the action which resulted in problem not occurring and intentionally repeat whatever action worked.

4. Find out how do you come out of your problems. And apply what you find earlier to speed up the process of coming out of the problem.

5. Find out some solution style you have successfully used in other problem/life areas. Take inspiration and apply solution in the same lines here.

6. Ask yourself, why isn’t the problem worse. What are you doing to not allow problem to grow beyond a certain level. Reduce your level. And apply same solution to not to allow problem to grow beyond the new level.

7. Think/Act working towards a future you want. Don’t let your past or present come in it’s way.

8. Question every assumption, every story you have made for yourself and others. Questions all rules and limitations you have set.

9. Find out which sense do you predominantly use when the problem occurs. Switch it with some other sense.

10. Find new things about the problem. Sometimes the key to solving them is hidden from us.

11. Take action. Participate in the world.

12. Ask questions which can lead you to answers.

13. Talk about your problems as if they are in past.

14. Put problems in right perspective. “You” are not a problem. There is a problem in your life.

15. Create a bigger problem to work on. Small problems will automatically seem like a challenge or no problem at all.

16. Take responsibility for your problem. Blaming someone/something else will make you lose power you have over the problem.

17. Find experiences/examples (from your life) which negate the problem.

18. Recognise your potential. You are not limited to who you believe you are.

19. Never say never

20. Use different combinations from the problem solving techniques you learnt. And give them time to show results.

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Reader's Comments

  1. Laurie | July 16th, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Very useful list. I particularly like #1 – change your doing, and #16 – take responsibility. Once we take responsibility for having created a problem and that we own it, we can do something about it and not wait for someone else to take care of it (which they can’t do anyway). I also like to visualize my way out of a problem. For example, if I’m confronted with a problem, I think about solution A, B, and C – run them through my mind and see if I can figure out the best course of action.

    Thanks for the review; I’ll get the book.

    Lauries last blog post..Get the Most Out of Your Practice Time

    Reply to this comment
  2. Avani-Mehta | July 16th, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Hi Laurie,
    I like the visualization technique. I will try it out. Have been reading about it since a while. Get the book … I am sure you will enjoy it.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Jeff | August 10th, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Your short summary is really good and gives a flavor of the the book’s excellent approach. I like the idea of providing a list to give a flavor of the book. But I hope people won’t mistakenly take the list as a summary of the content, like, hey, it’s all here. These are more like chapter headings, and give very little substance. This book really is great, and it’s worth reading the chapters.

    Reply to this comment


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