In order to solve this problem I had to figure out different ways to solve it that would have the desired result. In this scenario there is a man, cat, dog, and a mouse that need to cross the river but unfortunately the raft will only hold two of them at a time and the man cannot send the animals on the raft without him. Initially this seems very easy to solve unfortunately the cat cannot be left alone with the mouse or the dog unless the man is present otherwise they will fight or try to eat each other.
Once I had interpreted the problem, I attempted different strategies of crossing the river while keeping in mind that the cat could not be left alone with the dog or the mouse. So first I tried taking the cat over first then crossed back over to get the dog and then the mouse. This led to an obstacle since the dog or mouse was left alone with the cat which led to fighting or trying to eat the one another. I then tried taking the mouse over first but this led to the same problem, it left the dog and cat alone. At this point I was stumped on how this process was going to work so I resorted to heuristics to figure out a solution.
This allowed me to come up with a solution that would allow me to get all of the animals across the river without leaving the dog or mouse alone with the mouse. First I took the cat to the other side of the river and went back for the dog. Once I got the dog to the other side, I sent the cat back across the river so the cat and dog were not left alone. Next I left the cat on the original side of the river and sent the mouse to the other side to join the dog. Lastly I sent the raft back across to pick up the cat and take back across the river to the other side where the dog and mouse were waiting.
Initially I tried to solve the problem using my normal thought process since I thought the scenario was going to be simple to solve which was definitely not the case. I had to think outside of the box in order to discover the real solution that would get all three animals across the river without them fighting or trying to eat the other animals. So I followed the steps of interpreting the problem which eliminates the obstacles and this allowed for a solution. I do not believe that I was aware of the thought process in the beginning of this exercise. I tried using my normal thought process to reach a resolution in this scenario.
I was thinking to hard about the whole situation that the actual resolution was so simple. Once I had gotten past my normal train of thought and found the obvious solution, it made me wonder why I had not thought of it initially. Since the raft had to go back across the river anyway there was no reason that the cat couldn’t go back to the original side. There was also no stipulation as to how many times an animal could cross the river either. In the end all of the animals made it to the other side and I have discover that the obvious solution may not always be part of my initial thought process and I need to think outside of the box.