Category Archives: Instructions

Step by Step Instructions are Dangerous

A Most Debilitating Mindset

Long time ago, I took a couple of cooking classes.

Actually, I took the same class twice.

Two different teachers, two different sets of recipes, same type of food.

The first teacher was super specific. Put in exact amounts, cook for an exact time.

Second teacher was really flexible. Put in some of this, cook it for a while, until it’s done.

The first one let everybody get the exact same result.

The second one allowed people to experiment. To get their own result.

Of course, some people (ahem) in the second group had some pretty, uh, interesting outcomes.

But later when I got home, I had a lot more flexibility when I decided to try to “wing it.”

Which let me take one recipe, and play around with it until I got a lot of variations.

Many people like the idea of having a step by step, rock solid plan.

Making money, meeting people, learning how to speak in public while feeling confident.

Unfortunately, anytime you are doing anything other than cooking, or building a birdhouse that involves YOU operating ON a bunch of “stuff,” you are going to have TONS of unknown variables.

Namely, all those other people you will be interacting with.

Every single one of those people come filled with their own desires, fears, strengths and limitations.

Expecting some kind of surefire, step by step system is pretty ridiculous.

Kind of like a football coach telling his team EXACTLY what plays to execute in the EXACT order, before the game started, and regardless of what the other team did.

Even in sports, where the rules are clearly defined, AND there are people who are watching everybody make sure they follow the rules, you need TONS of flexibility in order to succeed.

Which is why you HAVE to expect to “fail” on a regular basis.

If you think you can NOT fail, that means you think you can predict how OTHER PEOPLE will behave.

You can ONLY put your best foot forward, regardless of what you’re doing.

You will rarely have ANY IDEA how the other person is going to respond, EVEN IF you know them well.

So it’s better to get over the idea of some kind of “step by step” process or some kind of memorized line you say in any situation.

A much better idea is to simply TRY SOMETHING, and see what happens.

Then based on what happens, try something else.

It’s only “failure” if you convince yourself that you can predict the future and you EXPECT a certain result.

If you shift from “I hope this works” to “let’s see what happens,” it’s not only a lot more fun, but you’ll make progress a lot more quickly.

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