Don’t Doubt, Try the Difference

I was reminded how wise Derek Sivers is when I listened to a recent podcast interview of him where he talked on innovation vs imitation. I’ve featured his insights once before, but in case you don’t remember him, he’s a music entrepreneur turned wise owl. To give you a taste of his thoughts, here’s something he wrote on overcoming doubt by trying the difference:

“If you’re in doubt about something that’s not in your life, try it. Things are so different in practice versus in theory. The only way to know is to experience it yourself.

Try it examples:
  • Pursuing a new interest?
  • Moving somewhere very different?
  • Quitting your job to go freelance?

Err on the side of yes. Try it. If it was a mistake, at least you’ll know first-hand, instead of always wondering.

If you’re in doubt about something that’s in your life already, get rid of it. Not just things, this goes for identities, habits, goals, relationships, technology, and anything else. Default to not having it, then see how you do without.

Get rid of it examples:
  • Relationships that bring you down
  • Goals you’re not pursuing
  • A career that’s plateaued

Err on the side of no. Get rid of it. Start with a clean slate, If it was a mistake, you’ll get it back with a renewed enthusiasm.

(The common thread is to make the change, to know first-hand.)

Get rid of everything examples:
  • Erase your phone and computer. Re-install the operating system from scratch. Don’t restore from the backup — not even your contacts. Only add back people who contact you. Don’t install any apps unless you can’t do without them.
  • Put everything you own into storage. Move somewhere small and simple, bringing only what you’d take on a two-week trip. Only when you absolutely need something, go get it out of storage. After a year, sell all that stuff in storage.
  • Move across the world. Start from scratch with a new career, new friends, and new approach to life. Every time you start to do something out of habit, interrupt the pattern and try the opposite way instead.”

Wise words! Now time to follow them


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