We spend a lot of time thinking about how things are supposed to be, or what the rules say we should do. Trying to get it all perfect. We tell ourselves that we’ll get started once the conditions are right, or once we’re sure we can trust this or that. When, really, it’d be better to focus on making due with what we’ve got. On focusing on results instead of pretty methods. As they say in Brazilian jujitsu, it doesn’t matter how you get your opponents to the ground, after all, only that you take them down.
How are you going to solve this problem? How are you going to get around the rules that hold you back? Maybe you’ll need to be a little more cunning or conniving than feels comfortable. Sometimes that requires ignoring some outdated regulations or asking for forgiveness from management later rather than for permission (which would be denied) right now. But if you’ve got an important mission, all that matters is that you accomplish it.
Pragmatism is not so much realism as flexibility. There are a lot of ways to get from point A to point B. It doesn’t have to be a straight line. It’s just got to get you where you need to go. But so many of us spend so much time looking for the perfect solution that we pass up what’s right in front of us.
Take a step back, then go around the problem. Find some leverage. Approach from what is called the “line of least expectation.”
Being outnumbered, coming from behind, being low on funds, these don’t have to be disadvantages. They can be gifts. Assets that make us less likely to commit suicide with a head-to-head attack. These things force us to be creative, to find workarounds, to sublimate the ego and do anything to win besides challenging our enemies where they are strongest. These are the signs that tell us to approach from an oblique angle.
The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.
— Charles T. Munger”
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