Felix Writes: Three Easy Steps

DigitalThoughts / Three Easy Steps

2011-03-20

I don't know who invented this joke, but it's damn funny:

  1. Get an idea.
  2. ???
  3. Profit!

It's also the "ha ha, only serious" kind of joke, for at least one reason: step ??? above -- what we call "execution" -- is everything. But I don't need to tell you that, right? Then why do people insist on seeking magical solutions to their problems? Such as all the methods for "getting things done". Whole books have been written about one, Pomodoro, that essentially boils down to "scribble what you have to do on a piece of paper; cross off each task when you're done".

Well, I have an even easier method, that doesn't even involve writing:

  1. Determine your top priority.
  2. Deal with it.
  3. Repeat.

Isn't that enlightening? Of course you aren't going to get anything done if you keep fretting about it instead of, you know, doing it! And that's the step people keep trying to postpone, because it's the one that involves getting off your ass and sweating...

I was mulling over this recently, when I realized the same principle can be applied to other things as well. For example, all the books about "how to be successful at..." can be replaced by three "easy" steps:

  1. Do something you like.
  2. Keep at it. A lot.
  3. Find a public.

Again, step two is the one that's not easy at all (funny things, these patterns), because it takes perseverance. And persevering is hard because... um... the impatient kid in you doesn't get quite immediate gratification?

Look, I'm a lazy man, but I know a secret: useful, productive work is enormously satisfying. It's pointless work that I hate with a passion. And no, it's not about the money. So keep the pointlessness out of my face, and I'll be happy.

Which, come to think of it, is just one easy step.

P.S. Yes, yes, as a friend pointed out (thanks, fluffy!) the joke comes from an old South Park episode. Still funny.