Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How to Think Like a Fool #33: Use More Effort Than Necessary

PLAY: Use More Effort Than Necessary
Fools read a book on thermodynamics when they want to fix the furnace. They run like mad to catch a turtle. They push on a door with all their might when the door reads PULL. They lift a feather with the moves of an olympic weightlifter. They overexert, over-prepare, overshoot, and overbite.

By doing so, they live in a heightened state of play, outside the comfort zone, on the extreme edges where there are new ideas under the sun. It's exaggeration in action, and making things more difficult in hindsight.

You use more effort than necessary when you need a jump-start to go from an object at rest to an object in motion; when you are too cautious and careful to make an impact; when the goal is faraway; when you don't really know how much effort it will take; when success was worth the excess energy expenditure and inevitable exhaustion.

On the other side, fools also succeed by using less effort than at first seemed necessary. A little push of a snowball has big consequences when it reaches the bottom of a snowy hill.

Think: How much mental or physical effort does this need? Can I double or triple it? How hard can I push myself? Or what if I used a miniscule fraction of effort instead?

Tomorrow: How to Think Like a Fool #34: Use What's Handy

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