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Adventure matters more than efficiency

Peak efficiency is an admirable goal. After all, who wants to squander time, energy, and other resources when such waste can be avoided?

My personal quest for efficiency has served me well; allowing me to do more than I ever thought possible.  But I have learned that such a quest also requires a word of caution: Efficiency is a double-edged sword.

In our dogged pursuit of maximizing our return on time and energy invested, we assess our options through an obsessive lens of opportunity cost. We immediately try to predict the choice that begets the greatest possible reward. And this creates a very misleading perspective…  In seeking maximum efficiency, this ‘reward’ is often assessed in very economical terms, almost inherently tying it to a measurable and tangible outcome.

The danger is that this estimated yield becomes more important than the journey itself. Thus, the journey – the opportunity of adventure – is dismissed before explored.

But the goal to ‘produce’ should never trump what is produced.

Producing measurable results is important, but seeking more efficiency while myopically focused on efficiency is a paradoxical pursuit. Applied to its extreme, outcome-driven efficiency does not allow for exponential returns. The process eventually becomes emotionally draining and unimaginative. It’s not sustainable.

Many of the greatest surprises, innovations, and intrinsic rewards are best revealed through adventure – a willingness to test, poke, prod, and experiment by doing something without the promise of a certain outcome or yield.

Adventure provides an uncommon and much needed perspective to daily life, our objectives, and our methods of achieving those objectives (yes, our efficiency).  Adventure reminds us that direction is always more important than distance.

*Maxim attribute: Scott H Young

Be a Maverick,

– Kent

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3 comments

  • Ahamed Imran says:

    I was pondering about the same thing for sometime, and came across this lovely post just today.

    In today’s world, efficiency equals profits and profits are what drive businesses to grow and expand their wings. Yet, isn’t efficiency making the employees working in such businesses look like robots?

    Certainly, our ancestors a few centuries back weren’t like this.

  • Kent! Great post and so relevant.

    If we explore and go tangent, up, down, zig and zag we will learn much more about our markets, our products and the industry we wish to be part of.

    As we go, we then find that many of those “efficient” steps can be skipped as other more important, bigger stepping stones come into the picture.

    My way has always been to fire the bullet first, then let the adventure begin!My job is to guide that bullet toward a target that grows ever-closer, as long as there are no blinders on, or there is no refusal to be “distracted by shiny things” along the way.

    I must be able to see the shiny things and investigate because these “shiny things” are exactly the opportunities that will bring GIANT steps to the goal line.

    If you stay on the efficient path, you will take 1000 more steps in between those GIANT steps found when you take your nose off the grindstone.

    My interactions off the beaten path cause a “stirring” and a buzz…they find ME. When this happens, your work product grows exponentially. If you stay on the path, never adventuring, your audience will be too focused and if you haven’t guided your bullet correctly, you will be aimed at the wrong target in the end, but it will be too late to change the course because no interaction or relationships off the beaten (efficient) path give you no options in the end.

    A business plan is only a static portrait of your business for one moment in time, and after you start, most times the strategies change because of the lessons learned from veering off the path.

    It’s not the tangible, every day work product; As Kent says, it’s the result. Guide the bullet a bit, look around, guide it some more…get off the beaten path frequently so you can move and adapt to changes much faster and much more EFFICIENTLY as you move closer to the goal line.

    I’m not saying never be efficient. I am saying be intelligent about that. Efficiency is important when producing products and in the manufacturing process. When you are creating a new company and promoting a new product, efficiency can KILL your company. Get out there and adventure! Find out about a lot of different things. Never sit still! Forward progress must be made!

    Opportunities never come to those who wait, they come to those who LOOK.

    • kenthealy says:

      Lisa: Really enjoyed reading your comments. Some excellent insights there. Thank you for taking the time to share. Sounds like you’re enjoying many of the creative benefits of balancing the pursuit of efficiency with a sense of adventure. Carpe diem!

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