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The Limitations Of Knowing ‘How To’

For years we’ve been rewarded for knowing the right answer. All of those gummed gold stars licked and stuck in copybooks next to neatly spaced handwriting, served their purpose.
We can’t help wanting to know the answer.

Knowing ‘how to’ is barely an advantage to the twenty first century business owner or entrepreneur, because there is no one right answer. There is no one way to get to where you want to go—and that’s a great thing! If there was a ‘how to’ guide then everyone would have the formula and nothing we created would be unique.

Nobody told Jobs and Wozniak how to build a computer company, let alone how to make it one of the most loved brands in the world, and Howard Schultz didn’t get the Starbucks magic from a manual.

Nobody can tell you what to stand for, or how your values, wants and needs, should intersect with those of your customers and then manifest as a business, an idea or experience. Figuring out the destination is hard—but recognising it, is more valuable than knowing exactly how you’re going to get there. Until you do the hard work of understanding the ‘why’ and the ‘who for’ every tactical ‘how to’ has the potential to take you down the wrong track.

The most useful answers are the ones we take time to figure out for ourselves—not the ones that everyone can find in a handbook.

It turns out that it’s more powerful to have your own map than it is to have someone else’s directions. Once you have that map, you’ll always have a way to get from where you are to where you want to go.

Image by Caroline Jung.

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