What To Do When You Don’t Know The Answer To A Problem

What To Do When You Don't Know The Answer To A Problem by Charles Sledge

There is a technique that has been used by some of the greatest minds for when they have a problem that stumps them. I’m sure we’ve all been there no matter how much we wrack our brains we just can’t seem to come up with the answer. Which results in frustration and anger, two things that are seldom productive to getting the results that we want from our lives. Instead there is a much better way of getting the answers that we want and it has to do with utilizing the amazing power of our mind.

Within our mind we have a resource greater than just about any other source of knowledge and more important always willing to be at our beck and call at any moment’s notice. I am talking about the subconscious mind. The part of your mind that soaks up everything you have ever seen, heard, read, experienced, and records it. The part of your mind that has access to things that you could only dream about (and often do). Utilizing your subconscious mind is a very important part of the road to success.¬†Without use of it you are only hurting yourself. Which brings us to our next question “how does one utilize the subconscious mind?”.

How To Utilize The Subconscious Mind

Even when you are asleep your subconscious mind is still working. It never rests, it never tires, and it never takes breaks. It is always at work. However you have to make it work for you. Without direction it doesn’t know where to go. Without a goal it will just be a huge source of energy that putters around. Even a jet wouldn’t be able to take off if all the thrusters were going in different directions no matter how powerful they may be. You have to get it to work for you and in the direction that you want it to go. Once you do this it can utilize all of its vast power reserves for you.

Goals are one source of focusing the subconscious mind but there is also another that is very useful for getting the answer to immediate problems of any nature. The problems can be personal, they can be business related, the can be philosophical, your subconscious mind has the answer to them all. You have the answer to them all you just don’t realize it. What men such as Tesla, Edison, Einstein, and others have done when they have a problem they can’t answer is they propose a question to the subconscious mind and let incubation take place.


What they would do is propose a question to their subconscious mind before going to better. They would write down the question ten times in their own hand writing, which is different from writing it out on a computer (ask any good copywriter). After writing the question out ten times they would take a blank sheet of paper and then write the question out one more time at the top of the page. Then they would lie down and repeat the question to themselves out loud and then in their minds to make sure it stuck. Then they would fall asleep.

That is when the real magic happens for when you fall asleep your conscious mind gets out of the picture allowing your subconscious mind full reign to work on the problem using it’s vast resources. It’s called incubation. You may have done it inadvertently when asking yourself and problem thinking hard about then giving up and suddenly a couple of days later when doing something unrelated the answer just pops into your head. But with this you don’t even have to wait for that. Upon waking you go to the paper where you wrote out the question at the top (after writing it out ten times somewhere else) and you begin free writing to answer the question.

The Answer

Just write without censoring yourself. Get down everything that you think about to answer the problem just keep writing and writing and writing. Until you have depleted everything. Then take a look over what you have written. See if there is any links or anything that starts to piece together in your mind. Anything that is an answer. Sometimes upon waking the answer will be immediate and pop right into your head other times it may take some writing. Sometimes this may take a couple of days but the process works.

After that if you still don’t have a satisfactory answer go on about your day forget about it and give the subconscious more time to work on it. Repeat the process that night and the next morning. You subconscious mind has an amazing way of sorting through information and then giving you a simple, clear, and direct message about what it is that you should be doing and what the answer to your question is. So next time you have a problem you can’t solve no matter how much you agonize over it, leave it to your subconscious mind and let it do the heavy lifting for you.

If you have any questions you would like to see answered in a future post send them to me at charlessledge001 (at) gmail (dot) com. If you found value in this post then I would encourage you to share this site with someone who may need it as well as check out my books here. I appreciate it. You can follow me on Twitter here.

-Charles Sledge


Charles Sledge

  • Mr. Tilde

    Great article. Especially helpful when it comes to solving some of my mathematical theories. The incubation method sounds great, I’ll give it a try.

    But I’d like to know is there anyway we can make our subconscious mind to work at whatever moment we want ? Especially when you’re appearing for some test ?

    • Hmm I’m not sure. You could try autosuggestion I would recommend a book called “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” by Joseph Murphy you can listen to it for free on youtube I believe it has something about that in there, regardless a very good book.

  • Dangit. As I was reading this article, this very method sprang to mind and I was going to mention it until I saw you were writing about it. Haha. Great minds do think alike.
    I will however add a slight tweak to this method that can help give you a flash of inspiration.
    I forget who originally began this practice, perhaps Benjamin Franklin, but he would take a short nap in his chair with a key lightly clutched between his thumb and index finger. Like what you described, he would ponder on his problem as he dozed. Once he hit the level of sleep that caused him to relax enough to release the key, he would wake up and get to work on his problem. The key acted as a very accurate alarm clock because he would only drop it once he actually began to doze off. Anything would work really as long as it’s small but makes a racket when it hits the ground.

    • Yes they do, haha. That’s very interesting will have to try that out.