Best train option in Milan: using Option Solving?

Virtually a month ago my wife and I were facing a travel dilemma our planned arrival at Milan Malpensa airport eleven days ahead, and intent to use a rail link to Milan’s Central station, prior to catching a train to Nice, France. There was method in our madness of making this inter-country play, which I won’t bore you with. Since we would be tired from an overnight flight, we wanted to catch the mid-morning train – one of two trains per day. That would leave us a 3 hour window to catch our onward train once we arrived at Malpensa. We tried several times to book tickets through the train company’s Website, to save on-the-spot time, but the site seemed to be malfunctioning and so our dilemma multiplied.

With that I resorted to Option Solving to resolve our time-travel dilemma of getting between Malpensa and Milan Central. The question I came up with looked like this: “What is our best option for a Milan Airport to Milan Central Trenord train: considering 1) the convenience of having tickets in advance, 2) Trenord’s Website is malfunctioning, 3) will possibly require an overseas call, 4) likely language difficulties, and 5) limited time window for our mainline connection” There were other considerations as well, but these were our key ones without making things overly complicated.

Now that our question was ready, I produced two likely yin and yang “bookends” to act as our framework for any viable options. These bookends were as follows: “Take a taxi” and “Rent a car at airport instead.” Neither of these would clearly resolve our issue, given the circumstances, even though they are clearly options – see our Latest Worked Example. However, these “bookends” are used to help stimulate the minds of any participant’s intent on solving their dilemmas through more optimal solutions, since they are provocative.

I then produced a minimum of five options, so as to stretch our possibilities as much as possible to figure-out a minimal number of helpful options. I would then ask my wife for her suggestion so she would feel included and more likely buy-into our final choice. From the six given alternatives in our Latest Example, excluding my wife’s proposal, you can see one is: “Option E: Call New York Italian tourist office for other booking options.”

When we author our next blog in two weeks, you will see my wife’s contribution in the pictogram, as well as learn about our emotional distancing activity to allow our intuitions to choose our best option. Emotional distancing would allow us to sub-consciously mull over all six options combined with our initial question. Once we made our choice, the chances are we may have to consider Peeling the Onion to figure out the best sub-options for implementing that choice. At least we were now ready to handle the situation. Which option would you have chosen?

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting will be in two weeks time. It will further deal with our travel issue through: “Peeling the Onion: Our best train option in Milan, Italy?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to to connect with the blogger. Also consider buying the book: “Smart Decisions: Goodbye Problems, Hello Options” through


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