“It’s pure elation when you find this elegant way to solve a problem.”*
Fifteen year old Jack Andraka had just produced a litmus paper test for pancreatic cancer.
This solution sounds a lot less complex than his powerfully disruptive question:
“What if I exposed a single-wall carbon nanotube with an antibody to a protein overexposed in pancreatic cancer?”*
Elegant is another word for the simplicity found on the far side of complexity.
Framing the right question is a skill in itself. Andraka’s question was powerful and disruptive. It’s what’s needed to shake ourselves awake from how things are. Ever had those kind of dreams?
You may be the only person who must ask the question you are asking; everyone else doesn’t see the need for a question.
Asking the question is followed by a great deal of failure. If we could find the solution or answer easily, it would already exist. The important thing is to fail in different ways, not in the same way.
‘Failing gracefully is part of the deal.’**
In the process, we come to know more clearly who we are becoming and what we have to hand, providing us with the perseverance to keep going until we break through into the elegant answer. We also become generators of even more powerful questions.