I don’t know what your heaven looks like, but in my heaven there are eggs.
Lots of eggs.
Not whole eggs sitting around, but eggs in the pan.
Basically, my heaven is a giant omelet bar.
I love the crack of the shell and the spill of the yolk. I love the spatter on the skillet. I love the taste.
But do you know what I like most about eggs?
You can’t really make them the wrong way.
In my experience, information overload has never been higher than when I’m looking for the “right way” to do something.
Everyone is clamoring on the Internet to tell you “the one way,” the “perfect formula,” the “ultimate life hack.”
They do this because they care. And of course, because they want to make money from you. But that’s okay — I would probably like to have some of your money too later.
Some people have 4 hour work weeks. Others hustle 18 hours a day. Some people work a little and let smart passive income do the rest of the work.
While I admire and have learned from all the men who preach these mantras, I don’t think any of them are the “right way.”
Actually as it turns out, all of my endeavors have pretty much been like cooking eggs. There are necessary elements, but you can get to the same place with any combination of these things:
This is an interesting variable. You may have heard it referred to as “hustle.”
If I’ve got something on the stove at maximum heat, I can cook it very, very quickly. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a successful program because it forces people to move at maximum heat. Participants write a blistering 1,767 words a day to wind up with 50,000 words (a passable novel size) by end of November.
BUT — maximum heat requires extreme attention to avoid burnout.
This is true in work, money, fitness, and love.
Heat and time are used in tandem. If you have the heat on maximum, you can get things done in a short amount of time.
However, if I’m willing to do prep work and, say, bake my egg instead of put it in the skillet, I can
a) do other things
b) allow the project to cook with minimum effort
c) still achieve a desirable result
Sometimes when I’m doing a project (like mocking up my website), I do it in a day. I go after it with everything I have — High Heat, Low Time, High Attention.
Book writing doesn’t go through that same process. I would die. So instead, I write 500–750 words a day for months. I bake my book. — Low Heat, High Time, Medium Attention.
Play with your heat and time to find out what works for you. Consider George R. Martin, who takes approximately one Ice Age to release a book.
It doesn’t mean he is any less successful.
3. Personal Preference
I think we can all agree this is a pretty strange article. A lot of people won’t read it. Who compares business and art to eggs, for God’s sake?
Whenever I write, I write for me. Sure I try to make it applicable to other people, but these ideas come from my heart, my emotions, and my experience. It’s the only way I know how to write. It’s part of The Creative’s Curse.
On the other hand, when I’m designing custom Snapchat filters for clients, my personal preference doesn’t mean jack. Maybe I like the art scrambled, but what if they want it poached?
Bottom line: always know who you’re cooking for.
The only way to adjust for personal preference is by getting really good at your…
I once worked with a designer who wouldn’t show me anything until it was perfect. He obsessed over getting every last detail right. Only once he felt completely satisfied his “egg” had been blended to the proper consistency with the exact spices would he be brave enough to pour it in the pan.
I’m the opposite. I crack open the metaphorical shell, throw it in the pan, and adjust on the fly. Do I want it scrambled, fried, or over easy? Am I cooking this “egg” for someone else? How hungry is that person? When I use the “launch and adjust” method, any necessary features can be added on the run, and — if in a bind — that egg is at least a workable prototype.*
*Book Idea: Agile Theories in Egg Cooking. Market Potential: 12 people*
5. Using One Pan
Too many times I have divided my metaphorical eggs among 16 different pans and expected a good result. Whenever I spread myself too thin, I always end up frustrated and disappointed.
If you’re looking for the moral, here it is:
Don’t look for someone else’s formula. Find your own.
Fiddle around with your Heat, Time, Personal Preference, and Technique. Keep it all in One Pan and…
You might start making pretty darn good eggs.