The Algorithm of Success

By Ronen Gafni | Published on the FreshBiz Blog

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One of the biggest frustrations people (and businesses) have today is the tension between the complexity of life and the desire to find a formula for success.

The will to find a solution that will enable us, in an orderly and logical way, to carry out a set of actions that will bring us success. A kind of magic formula.

Maybe it’s the desire to be better parents, more successful spouses, better managers, leaders, business owners, or salespeople. We seek the logic of it. The method. The algorithm that if we just run enough times, should arrange all the data points in the right order to unlock success in our lives.

Much time and money is spent reading the right books, listening to the lectures, attending workshops or watching programs, which we believe will give us that magical recipe for a successful life.

The problem is; we’re approaching this issue from the wrong angle.

In the language of mathematics, what we are trying to do is solve the problem by using a “Sorting Algorithm”, whereas the real solution to the problem requires using a “Heuristic Algorithm.”

Let me explain the difference:

A Sorting Algorithm enables you to take data and arrange it. And it will always turn out in the right order. Whether it’s the size, shape, numbers, alphabetical order, or any other one-dimensional sorting; you will always end up finding the right order. And it doesn’t matter if we apply a more or less efficient algorithm. At the end of the process you’ll get the correct answer; regardless of the size of the database.

Now, since life is comprised of a LOT of data (when we wake up in the morning, what to eat, how much to eat, who to eat with, what we read, how to behave, who we’ll meet, and a million and one other pieces of data) we believe that if we give it enough time and training (run the algorithm like a computer), in the end; we’ll “get it” and the correct answer will emerge.

So, we run our computer as fast as we can, to generate  an answer as fast as possible (feel a little exhausted sometimes? It’s from that!)  And yet, somehow the right answer never comes, no matter how fast we run or how many times we run it!

The reason for approaching the problem from this angle, is because we’ve been raised and trained in the limited style of linear education. This is the male energy of Western education which teaches us to get ahead and win, and that there’s only one right answer to the test.

Some people think they’ve already found the answer. That they’ve developed and cracked the right algorithm. And now they’re writing books about it or are teaching others how to crack it (which in many cases, and not surprisingly so, they fail to apply this algorithm in their own lives).

It doesn’t work. And not because we don’t apply it accurately. It doesn’t work because it’s simply a mistaken approach to solving the problem.

The real problem we’re facing is the “traveling agent problem.”

Imagine a travelling salesperson going door to door, who needs to visit 10 different cities before returning home. The question is, what is the best route to take? What is the right order to travel between cities?

This is certainly an interesting question and not just for the traveling salesperson; but for all of us, who live life going about our day.

Which route is better? Should we first go shopping at the supermarket and then go to work, and then afterwards go out for a run, and then make that sales call? Or should we get up earlier; maybe at 6:00am, then swim, have coffee with the kids, and then go to work for 8 hours? Or maybe do all that, but then go to work instead for 4 hours?

There are so many options!
Is there just one right answer? Is it possible to find the best route?

Just to give you an idea of the magnitude:

The route between 3 cities has 3 options (when calculating the distance.) Between 5 cities has 60 options. Between 6 cities has 360 options, and between 10 cities there are 10.8 million options!

Now think for a moment how many “cities” you try to travel to every day.
No one has found an effective solution to this situation yet.

There is neither the algorithm nor the computing power to solve this problem fast enough to really give you the answer to what the best “route” would be for you tomorrow morning.

So, what do we do?

Well, this is where the heuristic algorithm comes into play.

It basically gives you the ability to find a route that is good enough and fast enough for us to move forward. The perfect route is replaced with the “good enough” route and the fastest route is replaced with the “fast enough” route.

It’s no longer about being the most correct, but about being correct enough.

 

This is how, for example, bees find the best way to fly between dozens of flowers each time they leave the hive to collect nectar (several times a day).

They find the best combination between flight efficiency and the need to move, rather than being bogged down with endless calculations.

This is the skill of “Network Thinking” or what we call; “Multidimensional Thinking.”And that in short, my friends, is what we teach at FreshBiz.

There is no one magic formula for success. Instead, there is a way of thinking that makes it possible to find energy efficient solutions that are awesome enough…while we progress on our missions. Hope this helps.  


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December 2018 | Experience more cool content on our FreshBiz Blog