Thinking Outside the Box – or Outsourcing Your Problems

Problems we all have. The problem is not actually the problem itself but that we can’t see anything but the problem based on our existing assumptions about how the world works with regards to that thing.

Here’s a Tweet Jane made on her Twitter (without my prior permission – what was she thinking!!!).

The core Problem tweet

Of course, being male as soon as I saw this I went into problem solving mode. My partner has a problem, I need to solve it for her. The existence of the problem offended me.

Interesting that her whine was so close to that of most Indie Musicians so not only did part of me want to go “amen sista” but it made me angry too to see it being put like the catch 22 was the only way it could ever be.

Let me give a bit of background before I give the suggestion that I came up with.

Crushing Day

Last night I finished reading “Crushing It!” by Gary (of the unpronounceable name) Vaynerchuk – thank God for Copy & Paste.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to go with this when I started it. Ra Ra Men tend to annoy me. So often they say self-evident things that aren’t actually true and then no remotely usable way to get there. “Turn that frown upside down.” Thanks Capt. Idiotpants. I was also expecting more of that sort of twaddle about doing 4 seconds of work and raking in $1,000 a second for some crappy bit of plastic no one in their right mind would buy.

Thankfully Gary’s book is not like that much at all. Sure it is feelgood and we are given the idea that with work we can turn our pathetic $20,000 per annum failure of a Social Media presence (most of us would be delighted to get that much) to $200,000 per month/week/minute. But Gary makes it clear that it is a lot of work. Lots & lots of work over lots & lots of time.

The great take-away from “Crushing It!” (still hate the title) for me was that so much of what we see and hear every day is encouraging us to think inside the box. To stay inside the box. I’m not talking about The Man & his Military Industrial Complex but that most of what we do is predicated on our assumptions. What if we tried that idea from another set of assumptions?

Cut & Run

Gary’s book already had me thinking about my own Blogs, Videos etc. (bugger Instaham for now as they only let me post from my phone and I hate that as a work platform – no control no resources etc).

Because this was Jane’s problem and I hated seeing her feel stuck in a problem I blew straight past the usual, “that’s the way it is” if it were me making the very same complaint to trying to see it another way. It then hit me:

What if you turn the “rules” that define the problem into the solution?

That gave me the answer: why don’t you write your book on Twitter? This seemed the sensible solution as people have time to Tweet. People like to read Tweets. People like interesting events that they can feel like they are in the middle of as they happen. Jane is talking to writers who love to get their “nosy little noses” into other writer’s writing game. Win, crash & burn, there’s no lose in this.

So long as Jane gets going & stays going ( thanks Gary V).

Now Jane’s initial reaction to my killer idea wasn’t as grand as I hoped. Her first reaction was, “This is not how you write a book”. Her natural assumption was that to write a book you needed a quiet room, a typewriter, an open bottle of Southern Comfort, and The Band’s “Songs From The Big Pink” on rotation for 3 months – or maybe that’s Stephen King. You don’t Tweet it in 240 character segments. That’s not how you do it. Clearly Jane needs to re-read my article on taking opportunities.

A few rounds of beration later, where I point out that the reason for the initial problem was that it was a focus on the problem instead of the desired solution, and Jane’s light goes on. This is a doable thing and a thing she is going to do. My job is done, Gary V was useful and we* have a project that is genuinely interesting as it is not only different, but a genuine solution to not having time to write a book.

Writing a Story – on Twitter! is a happening thing and her 3rd book will be happening live right here in the Twittersphere. This happened because Jane showed her problem to others and took the opportunities that came in return. Never be afraid to outsource your problems – just be sure to use what other people (or the Universe) offers.

we all haul these around

*by “we” I mean Jane but I intend to meddle right up to the point where she gets annoyed with me (and probably further but Jane is good and doesn’t get too upset too easily).

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