Approaching the Target

If you want to add a fabulous new “life hack” to your repertoire, here it is: how you identify what you want doesn’t have to be how you seek what you want.

Here’s a classic example, and you may even have done this – you go to some sort of home goods store. You browse all the items, examining them with your many senses. You do more than look; you touch. You feel the heft of them, you look at their real size, etc. Then, after you’ve decided what you want, you go home and order that item on Amazon for a third of the price.

(By the way, if you’ve never done that, it’s a decent way to shop. You save money and avoid impulse buying by giving yourself a cool-down.)

In the store, you were identifying your target. You were figuring out what you wanted. But you weren’t using that same method to obtain what you wanted.

Here’s another example, one that it’s less likely that you’ve done but that is incredibly powerful – you go onto a job board to scout out potential open roles. You find some roles that look relevant at companies you find interesting. Then, you do not apply there. Instead, you find some other (less crowded, more human) way to approach the people at that company, and you get a job.

Why does this work? Because the tools we use to identify things, the aggregators and the superstores, then get crowded by people on all sides of the transaction who use that crowd to increase the transaction costs in all directions, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Job boards have more filters just as big box superstores have higher prices. If you want to avoid those transaction costs, figure out what you want, but then go find the back door.

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