The Best Solutions in Life

In anticipation of Labor Day Weekend, I’ve decided to release the post early since I’m sure everyone will be off having fun on Monday. So, to kick everything off, I hope you’ll take five minutes to watch the following speech from Kenneth Cole – “The Birth of a Shoe Company.” This lecture is different from the typical TED Talks in that it is only a few minutes long and is an anecdote about how Kenneth Cole created a successful company amidst a recession.

If I were to select the single most memorable moment in the entire lecture, it is the following statement:

“Invariably, we remind ourselves that the best solutions are not the most expensive but are the most creative.” – Kenneth Cole

Although it seem incredibly obvious, it still blew my mind as to how simple and true his statement was. Yet, when I looked at myself and the others around me, I couldn’t help but wonder why so many of us seem to purposely avoid the creative solutions.

Let’s take the following example:

In the pursuit of the idea of entrepreneurship, I thought that it might be a good idea for me to get an understanding of marketing. After all, how can I make a successful business without an understanding of marketing? So with that in mind, I immediately hit Amazon to find all the best books in marketing I could find. Before I knew it, I had about $100 in books that I was ready to order. Then, on top of that, some of the books mentioned some brilliant marketers who were selling courses online. Next thing I know, I’m waist deep in online course material from people who’ve “made it big” and created “viral online products” that “generated thousands of dollars in passive income.” 

If we take a step back, I’m sure it doesn’t take a scientist to notice that my immediate approach at the solution was to spend money. Perhaps it is because that in my mind I equate spending money on something with obtaining something of value. To some extent, it’s not completely invalid. For instance, by purchasing a credible and informative book on marketing, I will have obtained the value of marketing knowledge in the form of a book.

Here’s where the problem occurs:

A. Most people who buy the book feel satisfied in simply buying the book, and the next thing they know the book is collecting dust on the bookshelf.

B. The 10% of people who actually read what they buy will then decide they need more knowledge and go purchase more books or even enroll in a some seminar or class.

C. The cycle repeats itself and no one gets to where they originally intended: obtaining the skill of marketing.

While there are some people who go through Situation B and actually obtain something of worth, let’s be realistic with ourselves in knowing we are not that 0.01%.

So the question is how we avoid these types of common pitfalls.

#1. When approached with a problem or goal, your first solution should NEVER be to spend money.

#2. Once you’ve suppressed the impulse to spend money, do your research online. Let’s not forget everyone, the chances are extremely high that someone else has already encountered your problem and posted about it online. So why don’t we just take a minute or so to see what the vast internet has for us?

#3. If it seems that you need to purchase something, make sure you’re well aware of what you already have and see if you can re-purpose anything you have instead of spending more money.

#4. Roll your sleeves up and dive right into the problem. Don’t make excuses for why something can’t done. Just take action and by doing so you will progress forward.

At first it may be a little difficult to be creative with what you have and make clever use of your time and energy, but the great thing about starting this process is that it will get easier and easier over time. And before you know it, you’ll be coming up with things that seem common-sense to you; but brilliant in the eyes of those around you.


2 responses to “The Best Solutions in Life”

  1. Josey Schwartz says :

    I’m so glad you posted this. I’m looking at homework for my entrepreneurship class and needed a spark to get my in the mood. Needless to say, your post did it for me.

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