The Proverbial Needle in the Haystack

Nikola Tesla, who spent a frustrated year in Edison’s lab during the invention of the lightbulb, once sneered that if Edison needed to find a needle in a haystack, he would “proceed at once” to simply “examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search.”

Well, sometimes that’s exactly the right method.

Ryan Holiday – “The Obstacle is the Way”

Every now and then, you’ll find yourself in a jam. Something needs solving. Fast. And by you.

When that’s your situation, when a failure to act immediately will likely have ruinous consequences, when it feels like that moment in Skyfall (and about five other Bond films) where you’re in a tunnel or a basement or a ventilation system and flames are chasing at your back…

Then do what you need to do to get out of dodge.

But I want you to be honest with yourself. How often is that true? How often does your very life depend on you making the right decision at this very second? Unless you are James Bond, the only answer I will accept is “very rarely.”

When there is no emergency, and no advantage to stressing yourself out and imposing artificial deadlines, don’t. Will you find a needle in a haystack any slower by slowly and methodically inspecting each one than by throwing hay everywhere in a mad and frantic search for it?

I doubt it.

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