Most people are using the wrong metaphor to think about themselves, and never achieve anything.
I am biased to action.
That is, I tend to avoid movies that don’t involve explosions.
No, I am biased to action. That is if ever given a choice between taking action and waiting for more information, other things equal, I’ll go for action every time.
This is something I’ve cultivated, and is something that you need to cultivate too.
Now obviously that’s not saying that education and strategy are not important. They are. They are vitally important.
But I think humans have a natural, instinctual tendency to freeze-up in the face of complexity and challenge.
When it’s not obvious which way to run, we freeze until it does become obvious.
I think that strategy probably worked well when the situations we faced where no more complex than having two sabre-toothed tigers coming at you from different directions.
But when we’re talking about the complexity of, say, navigating your way through paid employment into independent wealth, then I just don’t think this instinct is all that useful.
And so we need to train ourselves to be biased to action – to be looking to be active and engaged, even in the face of uncertainty.
The way I see it, most people think of themselves as arrows.
That is, you set your direction, take your mark, and then let fly.
And once in the air, there’s nothing more you can do to control your path. The destiny of an arrow is set from the time it leaves the bow.
And in that context, careful aim is vitally important. You want to be exactly sure that you’re pointed in the right direction before you set things in motion.
Take careful aim, then fire.
But this strategy just doesn’t work.
And I see people think of themselves as arrows. And they always hold themselves back, always searching for more information, trying to build more confidence, trying to make the perfect move…
… and they get stuck in this holding pattern for years.
But the reality is that they’re using the wrong metaphor.
You are not an arrow. You are more like a river.
That is, once you set out, you will make many twists and turns on your journey to the sea.
Your course is not set from the get-go, but emerges and evolves as you make your way.
If a river makes a wrong turn, even if it sets out in the wrong direction initially, it will be corrected and find it’s way eventually.
The only important thing is movement. Once water is moving, the terrain quickly gives it the feedback it needs, and guides it on its way.
So don’t think of yourself as an arrow. Don’t get too stressed about your initial direction.
Think of yourself as a river. Bias yourself to movement. Bias yourself to action.
And this will take you where you need to go.