When Martians Solve Problems

Martians don’t often solve problems here on Earth, but when they do, they solve them differently than we do.

What’s different about their approach can help us to achieve better results.


There is no emotional connection to a problem or to an opportunity. Emotions like anger, fear, and envy are harmful to sound decision-making. Martians can be pretty aloof, like the Vulcan Spock on Star Trek. It’s just a problem to be dealt with and move forward. No one need be embarrassed or fraught.

Time awareness.

Martinas have no sense of history. They don’t know how we came to have the problem  There are past errors to hide or excuse. The point is to take the available information and resources and fit them together in the most advantageous way. Future-oriented only. A Martian can easily set a process in place and have it evolve a good outcome. There is no urgency if evolution yields a better answer.

They follow a familiar rule. The urgent is seldom important and the important is seldom urgent.

Objectivity and focus

Holding a clear, accurate vision of the problem and the environment in which it operates is crucial. We Earthlings tend to have dominant thoughts and confirmation bias when we see problems. Martians have neither shortfall. Solving the wrong problem or applying a solution in the wrong context is devastating. It wastes resources, especially time.

Martians rely on two factors:

  1. Effectiveness – solve against a specific set of criteria.
  2. Efficiency – use the minimum resource set to accomplish their purpose.

Martians solve only the problem at hand. Fashion is not essential. Adulation for the solvers is irrelevant. Popularity is meaningless.

They understand the Pareto principle. A Martian decides the level of solution that works. If they can solve 80% of the problem for 20% of the cost, they might spend time deciding how solved the problem must be.

The blemishes to the Martian method

There is no continuity. It makes sense for them because they will be gone before a similar problem arises. We cannot afford to do that. Experience is a valuable thing. Knowing who is more effective than others will help build future teams. Understanding how the problem fits into its environment matters. There is much to learn when outcomes vary from the initial expectation.

Martian solutions are static. We cannot afford that luxury. The world changes, sometimes in unforeseeable ways.

Develop the best no-frills solution and pay attention to how outcomes begin to change from expectations.

The bits to take away

The best solutions use the least resources to get the most solution. 100% solutions are a foolish goal.

There is no advantage to fashionable solutions nor to praising the problem solvers.

There is no such thing as a final and permanent solution.

Help me, please. Please subscribe. If you have found this article helpful, forward it to others.

I build strategic, fact-based estate and income plans. The plans identify alternate ways to achieve spending and estate distribution goals. In the past, I have been a planner with a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency, a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business. I have appeared on more than 100 television shows on financial planning. I have presented to organizations as varied as the Canadian Bar Association, The Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants, The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, and Banks – from CIBC to the Business Development Bank.

Be in touch at 705-927-4770 or by email at don@moneyfyi.com.

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