Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Do. Then know. It's not a chicken or egg thing.

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You learn how to wash dried egg yoke off a plate by washing dried egg yoke off a plate.

So I'm no Plato. But Plato was no Socrates. Wrap your mind around that one.

It's difficult to grasp, this concept of "doing," until there's a dirty dish in your hand. Then, as if having an out of body experience because you're too bored to be in your body, you realize you've devised a well run system of washing dishes without a single executed strategy. Or survey. Or flow chart.

You wash dishes like a gangsta. And there isn't a single milk ring at the bottom of a glass to tell you otherwise.

If given the option, most of us would skip the stuck on grease and go straight to the streamlined system. Who wouldn't opt to start with greatness instead of evolve there? Who doesn't want to arrive at Park Place without passing Go?

That isn't always the option, however. In fact, it rarely is. Maybe even never. All greatness takes work, takes doing that thing, practicing that thing, revising, reconfiguring, restructuring that thing, all while doing whatever that thing is some more. Winston Churchill once said, "Difficulties mastered are opportunities won." I wonder how many times he rewrote that? I wonder how many times I'll rewrite this? At present, we're hitting around nine.

In the world of marketing, the term "expert in your field" is tossed around like bangs in need of a trim. Every marketer wants to make you an expert and every you wants to be one.

But are you sure?

Years ago, while attending a national dance competition (as a spectator only), a fellow dancer from my class leaned over during a professional couple's spotlight performance and irritably remarked, "Why can't I do that? I want to dance like him!"

I asked him, "Are you sure? Because he's been dancing since grade school. Dancing is his job. He practices everyday with his partner. You can dance like him eventually, but you'll have to live like him to do it."  

He opted for no.

Knowledge may come by studying. But expertise comes by doing. Like my dish washing skills.

Every morning, I face down that drying egg yoke. And every day, I know exactly how to handle it. It took a few years, a few discoveries, like the miracle of presoak. There were dark days when I switched from over easy to scrambled. But I came back. I fried again. I faced the gall of that grip on my china, and I picked up my scrub brush.

I did the dishes. And now I know how.


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