I used to call my consultancy Postoneforty. I had a Facebook page called that. Now it’s called #messythink, named after — you guessed it — this blog.
You can visit it at https://www.facebook.com/messythink.
Why the change?
For one, #messythink is more who I am. Postoneforty, and the idea behind it, well, that’s me too. But anyone who really knows the real Dave knows that, well, I think messy.
No, messy. Messy.
This isn’t to say that my way is better or worse. It’s just my way. I take the long way around sometimes, but maybe I like the long way. And, more to the point, maybe the long way is better.
I was speaking to a friend, yesterday, about how the way I do things has been perceived by others over the years. Some have said that I’m negative — especially in regards to work. Whenever this comes up I think of something that — wait for it — Angelina Jolie said. She was getting the third degree about her love of knives and her interest in, you know, dark shit. And she was like, “It’s people who love life the most who are the most interested in dark shit.” I’m paraphrasing, but please give that a thought.
My way of solving a problem is figuring out what might go wrong before it goes wrong. That’s the point, right? Noah built the Ark before the flood; you buy the umbrella because it will rain — not because you’ve been standing out there getting soaked. Because otherwise, what’s the point? Anyone can diagnose a problem when it’s an obvious problem but I’m much more interested in figuring out what problems may arise and solving them before they happen. I’d rather get paid to figure out what could go wrong so as to navigate away from there than to take people’s money for pointing out some obvious thing.
To wit, my favourite sentence ever is something A.E. Housman once wrote:
Three minutes’ thought would suffice to find this out; but thought is irksome and three minutes is a long time.
In the past — and indeed the present — people have articulated their non-support or, as my friend Kelly would say, their nonderstanding of this way of going about things. Which is fine. It really is. I think my value as a worker is that I put a priority on solving problems, especially before they become de-facto problems. And the fact that some people aren’t on board with this type of approach completely validates the need for it.
That the way one necessarily has to go about doing things to honour this approach is bumpy, and indeed messy, is just a testament to how important I think it is.
But that’s just me. I’d like to know what you think.