Engineering Thinking is a wonderful tool set for making good decisions. This is not because engineers are better than anyone else, but because engineers work within a scientific/capitalistic framework, or culture, that strongly promotes excellence. Within the framework, if you do good work, you are rewarded; if you don’t, you aren’t. It’s really as simple as that.
You can pick any issue or problem — world events, politics, a purchasing decision, a relationship issue — and ET will help.
So what are the basic principles and corollary traits of Engineering Thinking?
ET PRINCIPLE / RELATED TRAITS
Define the problem and set the goals / Organized & focused
Do the research / Thoroughness and persistence
Challenge assumptions / Avoid emotional blockages and confusion factors
Analyze & test / Apply logical thinking, as supported by empirical evidence
Conclude & correct / Follow-through to apply what has been learned
ET principles can simplify your life and lead to better decisions, while reducing stress:
Life is simplified if you have some rules to follow for important decisions; ET provides those proven time-tested rules. Better decisions are the result of ET’s reliance on objectivity — which includes the avoidance of emotional blockages — to improve the odds of making a good decision. Note that ET does not guarantee the proper decision, but it does optimize the chances of arriving at a good decision, and for human beings that’s as good as it gets.
ET also reduces stress. Although you may not (and should not expect to) win every argument or make the best decision every time, you can sleep better by knowing that by applying the principles of ET you did the best that you could.
Furthermore, after applying ET in a civil manner, if you experience unreasoned hostility or stubbornness (emotional blockages) from the other party, such a response provides you with significant feedback as to whether you should bother to discuss certain issues with that person; i.e. why waste your time? In some cases such a response may suggest whether or not you should even continue to maintain a serious relationship with the other party.
Example: You have a roommate that drops their socks and underwear wherever they happen to be at the time they are changing from their work attire and getting comfortable for the evening, such as in front of the TV. Seeing dirty socks and underwear in the living room annoys you.
ET step 1: Define the problem and goals: Messy roommate, want them to pick up after themselves.
ET Step 2: Research: Get on the Internet and determine if this is a common problem, and if so what are some solutions.
ET Step 3: Challenge Assumptions: Be willing to adjust your views and lower your expectations if you find that your roommate’s behavior is more normal than you think it is.
ET Step 4: Analyze the situation. Assuming that your research has determined that your roommate’s behavior is considered generally unacceptable [note: I have not researched this and don’t really know what the norm is for such unkempt behavior], apply the remedies suggested by your research and monitor the results.
ET Step 5: Based upon the results of your roommate’s response to your trial solutions, if satisfactory, then problem solved. If not, (a) modify the solution and try again, (b) learn to live with an out-of-the-norm roommate, or (c) get a new roommate.