How to Troubleshoot Anything You Can’t Do
Finding yourself stuck? Good. Me too, quite often. I’ve found that becoming unstuck is always a matter of addressing one of the following seven issues:
1.) Beliefs – do you believe you can do it? I spoke recently at a conference in Germany about – what else? – dating. My topic was something like Dating the Girl of your Dreams. The first question I had for the audience was “how many of you actually believe that you will date the girl of your dreams?” A lot of guys get into the “getting better at women” thing thinking its merely a new set of skills to be learned (more on that shortly). Way more important than their skills, however, are their beliefs.
2.) Motivation – do you want it badly enough? This is a big problem. Especially for potential entrepreneurs. There’s an idea they have, but they don’t want it badly enough, relative to their current situation. A classic opportunity cost calculation. Lack of Motivation also strikes in many other forms, from depression to genuine dispassion.
3.) Raw Potential – could you do it? Most of us have the potential to be good sketch artists, but give up around fifth grade. But not too many of us have the intellectual capability to understand particle physics beyond, say, Brian Greene’s explanations. And a tubby, big boned lump of lovin’ isn’t going to appear in a Victoria’s Secret catalog. String-theory and underwear modeling aside, though, there are many examples of people who transcended their God-given limitations, usually through exceptional force of will and belief.
4.) Skill Set – do you have the necessary skills? No matter how much you believe that you can build a dog house, your progress will be limited if you don’t have some basic carpentry skills. You typically take a class, read a book, or find an apprenticeship to help you learn some skills and address this issue.
5.) Resources – are the right tools at your disposal? To continue with our dog house metaphor, the best carpenter in the world couldn’t build much if he didn’t have a saw or a hammer. A lack of resources typically becomes obvious very quickly, although in the case of entrepreneurship, I’ve found that “undercapitalization” is a resource problem that’s often not discovered until too late.
6.) Execution – do you put everything to work? Are you able to effectively channel your beliefs, motivation, potential and skills into something that goes somewhere? Failures in execution are common, and often the result of poor management of people, time, priorities and/or resources.
7.) Commitment – will you follow through? Getting started on something, whether a relationship or a business, is always great fun. But if you can’t see it through to its logical end (or merely commit to being a part of the journey), it won’t get very far.
Whenever I’ve found myself stuck on something, I ask myself which of the preceding sticking points has got me. 95% of the time, it is motivation. I probably need more sleep.