I was out with friends and needed to jot down a quick of note. I had a pen at hand. I snagged the clean napkin at hand and began trying to scribble on the napkin. It was awful. One of the worst writing experiences of my life. The napkin kept catching and ripping. Genuinely, not designed for writing. I was able to get the note onto what was left of the napkin when I was done with it.
The paper napkin was the wrong platform. It was the wrong medium. It is cheap. It is expendable. It is designed to be thrown away at the end of its use. It really was not up for the job and I had to work harder than I should have in order to get my note onto it. The napkin sparked in me a series of thoughts and questions. I started to wonder how often I tried to use napkins when I needed paper or phone? How often does my creative solution actually hinder me more than enhance my work?
Then again, what does my solution say about the problem to begin with? A disposable napkin to write something down? What is the point? The napkin barely holds my writing. It is not meant to be kept, it is meant to be thrown away. I put my note, mildly important note, onto something destined for the recycle bin. It is not meant to be used this way. It is not a medium for long form writing, short form writing, notes, or scribbles. It is not even a medium worth keeping around. It is the medium for wiping the crumbs from my mouth or grease from my fingers.
As I am trying to focus on the extraordinary and let go of the mundane am I actually hindering my ability to grow because I am trying to be too creative? Where can I skip the napkins? Where am I scribbling on trash? Where do I need to replace my tools?
Truly, I grabbed the closest thing I saw and started using it. I did not even question as to whether or not I should pull out my phone and scribble my note into my phone. I chose the wrong tool and stuck with it. How often do I do that? Or even worse, my methods were sub par. How often do I use mediocre methods and not question them because I am essentially sticking my head in the sand.
Unfortunately, the answer to all of these questions is, ‘Too often.’
Where are your choices causing you to fall short of success? Where are the tools you are using hindering you? What other tools are out there to enhance what you are doing?