Over the years, I have come across two types of people: those who look for “step-by-step instructions” and those who don’t. There is nothing wrong with either one… in fact, I found myself in one of those types, not at the same time, at some point in my life… even today as I write this article.
Have you been in this situation: you purchase something from a store… you bring it back home… and then you have to assemble it? What do you do at some point in time? Look for the enclosed instructions, right? Well… believe it or not, some don’t.
Those who look for instructions — the “step-by-step” — are those who look for certainty and safety of success. Those who don’t are the ones who are willing to embrace uncertainty and environment where failure may happen… knowing that they can iterate and learn from their mistakes… and do it again with those learnt mistakes in mind.
The former, they need “step-by-step”… they need a “map for success”… they need certainty…they are averse to failure…to them, failure is not safe. They thrive in a “Predictive Environment”.
The latter, I observed over the years, are the ones who can go on without a “map for success”, they push forward, persevere on their journey. They don’t need a map to move forward. They thrive in an “Adaptive Environment”.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, I was and still am on either type at some point in my life… depending on the situation on hand.
A bit about myself: I am a board-certified Civil Engineer… and a Software Professional.
Civil Engineering is a science. We can create a model of a building before it is even built. Create “Blue Prints”. Write up and calculate specifications based on estimated load factors. Even estimate up to the last bolt. It is in a “Predictive Environment”. Accounting field is in this “Predictive Environment” as well. These professions are old…it is already a science… the outcome is not on the hands of the beholder. What they can do is to make it better… more efficient… remove what is wasteful.
Software is different. 180 degrees different. It is an art: the result is unique… based on the hands of the beholder. One can envision what to build… but will have to discover things along the way and adapt accordingly. It is in an “Adaptive Environment”. The people who discovered and created Covid-19 vaccines — Pfizer comes to mind — are in this “Adaptive Environment” as well. These people are discovering things as they move forward, learning, observing, and forging ahead towards their goal.
These analogies are just a few examples of many others. You can find a “Predictive Environment and Adaptive Environment” at your workplace, your community, and even in your home. Even within you.
It is situational. Know which environment you are in. Regardless of which environment you are in:
1) Know and visualize your goal.
2) Set your direction towards your goal.
3) Create a System that helps you move towards your goal.
4) Focus on your Journey! Be in the moment. If you stumble along your journey and you cannot carry on further… what else is there? Goal is gone.
Although the goal is important, focusing on the journey is more important.