Yesterday, my wife let me know that a toilet in a house kept running after it was flushed. Apparently this had been going on for about a week. She asked me to fix it.
When I first investigated, I found that the float did not go high enough to shut off the water. As a result, the water kept running.
My mind went to the angle of the float in the water. It could be screwed closer to the off switch. I first put the float further away from the switch to see if it would make a difference. Of course, it didn’t. (I also tried moving it closer to the switch to change the angle of the float but that didn’t work either.)
On our way to breakfast, I told my wife what I found was wrong. She quickly offered a solution. She said that I should take a full water bottle and place it in the cavity of the water closet. I asked her why do this. She answered, so that the level of water can be raised when it refills. This would then allow the float to be pushed higher which would then turn the water off.
It was amazing how her focus was so different than mine. She looked at the background while I looked at the foreground. I would have never thought of that solution. Never. Because I was never focused on raising the water level.
After breakfast, I took another look. I was almost ready to put the water bottle in the tank when I saw a screw near the switch that turned the water off. I decided to try tightening it. That solved the problem.
What is so interesting, we have three possible solutions to this simple problem. Two most likely would have worked. But it would never have happened without being surprised with option two of three.
You see, not only is it better when more people work on a problem. This simple story should be a reminder, to always think, that maybe you haven’t thought of everything when facing the next problem that confronts you.