Get my new weekly sketch in your inbox

Join over 30,000 people learning something new in a moment each Sunday.

Muddy puddles, leaky ceilings

Muddy puddle leaky ceilings - James Clear's model of two types of problems

What type of problem are you dealing with? James Clear shared a technique of splitting problems into two types: muddy puddles or leaky ceilings.

A muddy puddle problem is one where leaving it alone can help to make it clearer.

A leaky ceiling problem is one where leaving it alone causes more problems.

Leaky ceilings need resolving soon. Muddy puddles can be left until they are clearer.

Here's James Clear explaining it in his own words:

"I split problems into two groups: muddy puddles and leaky ceilings.

Some problems are like muddy puddles. The way to clear a muddy puddle is to leave it alone. The more you mess with it, the muddier it becomes. Many of the problems I dream up when I'm overthinking or worrying or ruminating fall into this category. Is life really falling apart or am I just in a sour mood? Is this as hard as I'm making it or do I just need to go workout? Drink some water. Go for a walk. Get some sleep. Go do something else and give the puddle time to turn clear.

Other problems are like a leaky ceiling. Ignore a small leak and it will always widen. Relationship tension that goes unaddressed. Overspending that becomes a habit. One missed workout drifting into months of inactivity. Some problems multiply when left unattended. You need to intervene now.

Are you dealing with a leak or a puddle?"

Also see: lateral thinking sketchesThe XY ProblemPoint PositiveSolvitur Ambulando


You’re welcome to use and share this image and text for non-commercial purposes with attribution. Go wild!
See licence

Buy Me A Coffee