There is a certain sense of satisfaction that I get from solving a problem. It almost doesn’t matter what kind of problem it is: debugging a computer connection, figuring out how to help a customer or figuring out a lace pattern. There is a feeling of “I did it, and I’m proud of it” that results.
I’m feeling pretty good at the moment because I just spent 20 minutes helping someone get hooked up to the wireless network. We have a very robust computer network at CubeSpace, both wireless and Ethernet. It is designed to enable people with a wide variety of computers to have access to the Internet and the networked printers. For the most part, it is very successful in that goal. Occasionally, however, people’s computers are set up in a way which prevents access. Usually it takes me less than 5 minutes to get anyone set up. Today, it took 20 minutes.
Twenty minutes is long enough to develop a good head of frustration. And while frustration is not good in and of itself, as a precursor to solving a problem frustration adds to the sense of satisfaction. If a problem is easily solved, there is little achievement in its solution. Having been frustrated by a problem and solving allows a real sense of accomplishment.
While I don’t suggest taking on frustrating problems on a regular basis, solving them is sort of like scratching an itch: it’s almost worth having been itchy just for the satisfaction of having scratched it.