There’s usually more than one way to accomplish something. Ideally, you’ll want to have at least three methods open to you.
If fitness is your goal, for example, try not to rely on jogging alone. Also have a choice among swimming, weights, exercise machine and sport.
Varying your activities will “keep your body guessing” and make you fitter faster. It’s also great to be able to get up in the morning and ask “what one will I do today?”
If yoga is your thing, train regularly with more than one group. Self-employed? You’ll want at least three clients.
Not only does variety stop you getting bored, it also creates a buyer’s market. The providers of activities will have to compete against each other for your attention, which means you get the best possible deals.
A range of alternatives isn’t usually possible at the start. Let it evolve. Begin with a single activity, than add to that as opportunities arise.
Achievement – it’s a matter of choice.
It’s great to be in control, but sometimes this can throttle your efforts.
Early-stage enterprises are ambiguous, uncertain animals that are never a perfect fit with the market. They need a lot of tweaking and changing.
Being imprecise over goals and methods can be an advantage.
During the Vietnam War, the insurgents and North Vietnamese used the Russian AK-47 semi-automatic rifle, which was very effective in battle because it was engineered slack. U.S. forces, by contrast, were saddled with the fine-tolerance M16 weapon that in its early form needed frequent cleaning and often jammed, resulting in unnecessary loss of life.
LOOSE AND EASY
Anyone who plays tennis knows the virtue of a floppy serve and a relaxed grip. This allows a whippy racquet motion, using the pivot points of the fingers, wrist, elbow, shoulder and back. The grip is tightened up before the racquet contacts the ball.
Ever listened to Bob Dylan’s early songs or read the prose poems on his album covers? Their meanings are often vague and impressionistic. They say almost whatever you want them to, which gives them wide applicability.
So too with business. Hang loose until the moment when you have to tighten up. Let market forces and other uncontrollable variables tell you what you need to know.
Be free, people.
Who isn’t hoping for the breakthrough that will transform their enterprise – the innovation that will set the world on its heels?
Hard to find, and more progress can be made by the less exciting method of continuous improvement.
Well, it’s not exactly continuous. More ‘fits and starts’. Still, if you’re always on the look-out for these minor opportunities for moving ahead, you will find them. And they do add up.
In a sense, innovation and continuous improvement are the same thing. It’s just a matter of scale. Breakthroughs look like a continuum when they’re viewed from a sufficient distance.
You’re more likely to advance with accumulating baby steps than if always looking for the transformative ‘smash hit’. Occasionally you’ll enjoy one of these, but it’s difficult to plan for.
Bust the charts or succeed by stealth? The answer is at your feet.
Write every day, we are told. It’s intended as good advice, whether we’re creating fiction, a blog, or other forms of non-fiction.
The idea is that a regular habit will maintain the flow of thought and get the job completed faster and better than a spasmodic effort.
Yet if we undertake other focused disciplines on a daily basis, we run the risk of overtraining. Anybody who has worked out hard knows the bad feeling of not being able to face another session at the gym because neither the body nor the mind is ready for it.
What’s so different about writing?
In defiance of commonsense, people are expected to be able to push beyond a funk, favor perspiration over inspiration, force themselves through the wall.
This makes little sense. The mind can become exhausted, no less than the body.
By all means look at your writing every morning, assess it, think about where it’s come from and where it’s going. But don’t feel you must churn out another 500 or thousand words, just because today is another day.
Nothing is as good as coming back fresh from a period of rest.
I looked at a couple of movies recently about the mid-20th-century entrepreneur Howard Hughes. These were The Aviator, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and The Amazing Howard Hughes, with Tommy Lee Jones.
Both movies told interesting stories, the first focusing on Hughes’s early years, the later protraying his decline into eccentric old age.
What startled me was the similarity between him and our current rich visionary, Elon Musk.
Hughes made his pile selling drill parts during the Texas oil boom, then parlayed the cash into blockbuster movies, operating an airline (TWA) and making extravagant forays into aircraft design.
His six-engined Spruce Goose was at the time the largest aircraft ever built. It barely got off the ground and has been hangared ever since as an awkward reminder of Hughes’s overreach.
In a similar vein, Elon Musk got rich from the internet revolution, bought into the car company Tesla and has ambitions to be a space transport pioneer.
Both men had or are having trouble reining in their cashed-up dreams to keep pace with the reality of what they’re trying to achieve.
The Musk story is still unfolding, but how fascinating to see if the second half of the man’s life will mirror the fated trajectory of his forerunner.