If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail

Berkeley, Tuesday, September 25, 2018 3:20 PM

One of the favorite quotes from my PhD advisor, Matt Kondolf, is “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”.

This proverb promotes to expand ourselves to a larger set of tools and methods available to analyze a case or to solve a problem.

Often, we are trained with a set of tools for solving a problem. Sometimes, we try to adjust the problem to what we know, rather than we adjusting to the problem. Even the problem cannot be a problem at all.

It is extremely important in life to acknowledge how things are, and to be humble enough to accept that we might know only some ways to solve it, but there might be other better ways to approach it, or even our services might not be needed there.

It also pushes us to expand our knowledge to learn different methods, and to keep our attention in the problem, or in the feature, rather that only obsessed in our few methods, and trying to make up a problem for solving it. Or in other words, we might be trying to make the problem look as a nail, while it is actually is a screw.

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