If It Works

When I was about 6 or 7, my father took me and my cousin on a camping trip. He was a year younger than me, and this was his first such outing. For lunch on the first day, my father made us both peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

My cousin said to my dad, “My mom cuts the crusts off for me.” My father gave a long side-eye at my cousin and said, “I’m not your mom.”

He made it clear – he couldn’t care less whether or not my cousin ate the crust, or even the entire sandwich. But he wasn’t making anything else, and he wasn’t going to cut the crusts off.

Faced with such adversity, my cousin got creative: he folded the sandwich in half and ate it from the middle, leaving behind a neat unbroken line of crust in the shape of a square with the inner sandwich devoured.

“If it’s stupid, and it works, it ain’t stupid.”

Sometimes you want to care about technique, create sustainable methods, work towards efficiencies. But often, you just need to get the damned engine running. You just need to be airborne. Or, you just need to eat the sandwich.

My rule of thumb is that working on process is only a good idea if you’re in process. If you’re moving. You want every day that you aren’t perfect to still be a day where you moved forward and accomplished at least something. If you’re so concerned with methodology that you’re not making progress at all, you need to ignore methodology for a little bit and just get the ball rolling. Not only is iterating a hundred times easier when you have something to iterate, but you also don’t lose as much from small failures along the way.

Eat the sandwich, even if you have to eat it weird.

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