November 7, 2023 by Dymphna

T-Bomb: Fail fast, fail furious

Truth Bomb Tuesday: Mistakes are a cost of doing business.

“Wow. You work so fast.”

I was messing around with my messaging system while a friend was over the other day. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I was trying to figure it out.

Click that setting. Have a look. Youtube what that button does. Rejig and try again. Google what that error message means.

It was fast, loose and messy.

And I wasn’t working with the manuals either.

I think this is the thing people often forget with technology. The developers really are trying to make it as intuitive and idiot-proof as possible.

More often than not, if you just follow your intuition, you will end up in the right place.

I know people get scared of the tech as they get older. They just don’t want to have to learn another operating system. I know a guy who tapped out with VCRs.

But I think you can just trust that you’ll go a long with any operating system just by following your gut.

So that’s how I was working. Just getting my hands dirty, figuring it out.

To my friend, this was surprising. She said she would have been much more cautious. She would have done a lot of reading first. Maybe watched a few tutorials. Read some reviews.

And she certainly wouldn’t have been changing settings if she didn’t know what they meant.

I can see where she’s coming from. This is definitely the right approach if you want to maximise the chances that you don’t make any mistakes.

But that’s not actually what we want to optimise for.

We want to optimise for momentum. We want to optimise for forward progress.

Some mistakes are fatal. Sure. But some mistakes are just a cost of doing business.

We all know that failure is an essential ingredient of success. Greatness doesn’t happen unless you make a mess of a lot of things first.

This is true, and everyone kinda gets it.

But not only do we want to fail, we want to fail fast. We want to gobble up those learning opportunities like a little pac-man so we can keep moving forward.

We certainly don’t want to loll around twiddling our thumbs, just so we don’t make a mistake that could have been undone easily.

And look, some mistakes are fatal. You need to know what you’re gambling with. I have just as many students who need to slow down and do their due diligence first, as I have students who need a kick up the bum to get moving.

But most mistakes are not. Most mistakes can be erased off the ledger with an undo or reset button.

So don’t waste time reading magazines in the waiting room of life just because you’re afraid of making a mistake.

Mistakes are essential.

We need to fail and we need to fail fast.

That’s how you build momentum.