Recently I made a small tweak in my approach to doing new tasks and I was able to find far more motivation, enjoyment and success in whatever I was doing.


The change was simply this:


Old Approach – ‘How am I supposed to tackle this?’

New Approach – ‘How am I going to tackle this?’


The difference is only slight in as much as they are both trying to find a way to work towards achieving a desired end. However, in practice I’ve found the difference between the two to be massive.


My old approach worked on the idea that for every task there is a correct way to do it and that way needs to be learned. I adopted this approach as it seemed quite reasonable and even humble to think that others with experience will know how to do a task better than me with little or none. After all, surely only an arrogant person would think they know the best way to complete a new task?


However, I had problems finding success when using this approach. It gave me the feeling of constantly not living up to expectations because it made all the answers feel so external and unobtainable. It also left the door open for one of my personal demons ‘over analysis’ because I had the strong doubt that anything I was considering doing would probably be wrong and it would be worth exploring my options further. In the end my old approach simply made me feel world weary.


The problem was that I was trying to comprehend someone else’s understanding of a subject rather than using my own intellect to gradually figure it out for myself. The trouble with trying to see the way experts do things is your trying to comprehend the end result before going through the necessary learning stages- I was thinking about the end when I was only at the beginning. Ultimately you’ve got to learn to do things in a way that’s right for you.


Eventually after growing frustration at lack of progress I revised my methods. In my new approach I feel empowered as rather than trying to think how someone else would do something, what will probably go wrong if I try it and any other garbage, I now just move on my own decisions. Any new task I do now feels like an independent challenge as it’s inherently more fun to approach a task your own way rather than following laid out steps. Its gives you a chance to ‘play’ with ideas and gets your mind involved in the task and thinking round the topic far more than if you have to monotonously spend long chunks of time absorbing information.


I think taking my new approach also gave me a psychological advantage because by looking at it from the angle of ‘how am I going to do this’, I’ve claimed ownership of the task, and by feeling like it’s my own task I have far more motivation to get it completed.


It reminds me of how when back at school I used to switch off a lot in lessons and not listen even though these days I find myself reading up on many of the same subjects of my own free will. The reason for this is simple, because I was being forced to be there it didn’t feel like it was my task, it seemed like a task I was doing for someone else and thus I lacked the motivation to learn. People learn better when it’s there own project.


As for the idea that it’s arrogant, it may well be arrogant to think you are going to do a task right first time, but it is not arrogant to try your best at something new and looking to learn from any failures as you go. I still do research into other people’s techniques and established practices but it is me learning it for my own purposes and understanding relevant to where I am in my learning process – not being a sponge surrendering my own thoughts.


Arrogance is acting because you think your going to do something right.

Confidence is acting because you wish to be right and are prepared to learn from failures.


Maybe your mind works differently to mine, but I certainly found it of use anyway.