A lot of my work days are about efficiency.
Tearing through my Inbox.
Having as few meetings as possible and making them as short as they need to be.
An overall feeling and attitude of moving fast and keeping an eye on the clock.
I’ve been in an overdrive version of this mode for the past few months, with an intensive focus on external sales and fundraising.
Then the other day, working on an important document, I had what I thought was a brilliant idea.
I started on it, made a terrible first draft, played around with the document, trying to make it resemble the original bolt of inspiration.
And then I had a paralyzing thought, “What if this is a waste of time? What if I work on this for the full two hours, give it my best shot, and then discover that it’s no good?”
And, if that’s a possibility, should I stop before I start—would that be the efficient thing to do?
Of course it would, and it would be a terrible idea.
The only way to create something truly worthwhile, something that only you can create, is if you walk along the This Might Not Work edge.
That means that you are actively aware that what you’re doing might not be good enough, that you’re dancing with that fear. You’re aware that even if it doesn’t work this time, the only way, in the long run, that you produce anything worth anything is if you consistently spend time doing things that might not work.
Which means that the point of all that efficiency is to create space that plays by a different set of rules.
It’s a space where you get to dance and make a fool of yourself and try daring things, many of which may end up in the trash, so that some of them can be amazing.
One thought on “The Willingness to Throw it Out”
It is indeed a point of contention in my head quite often. I have always framed it as “explore/exploit dilemma” and it’s good to see there is a catchier phrase for a similar situation. Definitely easier to recall at the right time. Thanks Sasha.