It seems to be human nature to constantly search for shortcuts–or hacks. I’m constantly looking for shortcuts. I explore, “How can I get this done in less time? How can I create this outcome with less work?” A favorite book from years ago was Tim Ferris, “The 4 Day Workweek,” was filled with ideas and shortcuts for all sorts of things.
Our social feeds are filled with “experts” offering shortcuts, which we devour, often, implementing blindly.
And, too often, these shortcuts fail. They may work for a short time, but they become less effective and we search for another shortcut.
The reality is shortcuts are an illusion. We think of them as a means of doing the work without really doing the work. But we forget, we have to do the work!
The value of a shortcut is, most often, not the shortcut itself, but what we learn in developing the shortcut.
Developing shortcuts requires deep thinking. It requires us to understand what it takes to accomplish a goal, to get something done. We have to analyze the issues or problems. We have to think about alternatives in achieving addressing the issues and objectives. We have to understand what causes certain outcomes. We have to experiment with different approaches, often failing in some, but learning and refining the approach to find a way to improve what we do or the results that are produced.
We learn the secret to success is not the shortcut itself, but what we learn in developing the shortcut.
The problem arises when others copy our shortcut. They haven’t gone through that deep learning, thinking, experimentation process. They don’t develop the deep understanding of what’s happening and why the shortcut works. They only know the shortcut.
We try to implement the shortcut, but don’t have any idea about how it works or where it might not work. And when it doesn’t work as we might expect, because of that lack of understanding, we are clueless in figuring out what went wrong and how to fix it.
Shortcuts are fantastic, we need them. But take the time to develop the shortcuts yourself, understanding why the work so effectively.
Don’t waste your time mindlessly co opting someone else’s short cut, you will find it isn’t.