## Problem solving

A wonderful story that a friend sent to me on problem solving. It is an old story but nevertheless demonstrates how thinking outside the box can find an innovative solution.

Cheers Michael

There was a father who left 17 camels as the inheritance for his three sons. When the father passed away, his sons opened up the will.

The Will of the father stated that the eldest son should get half of 17 camels while the middle son should be given 1/3rd (one-third). The youngest son should be given 1/9th (one-ninth) of the 17 camels.

As it is not possible to divide 17 into half or 17 by 3 or 17 by 9, the three sons started to fight with each other.

So, the three sons decided to go to a wise man. The wise man listened patiently about the Will. The wise man, after giving this thought, brought one camel of his own and added the same to 17. That increased the total to 18 camels.

Now, he started reading the deceased father’s will. Half of 18 = 9. So he gave the eldest son 9 camels. 1/3rd of 18 = 6. So he gave the middle son 6 camels 1/9th of 18 = 2. So he gave the youngest son 2 camels.

Now add this up: 9 plus 6 plus 2 is 17, and this leaves one camel, which the wise man took
away.

The attitude of negotiation and problem solving is to find the 18th camel i.e. the common ground. Once a person is able to find the 18th ground the issue is resolved. It is difficult at
times.

However, to reach a solution, the first step is to believe that there is a solution.

If we think that there is no solution, we won’t be able to reach any.