Mark Blasini


Secure, then advance


Lately, I've been reading a very insightful book calledThe Golden Key to Strategyby Gary Gagliardi, a popular translator ofThe Art of Warby Sun Tzu.

In one part of the book, he has a powerful analogy for understanding how progress in life works. I'll let him explain it:

Progress is like climbing a ladder. As you move from one rung to the next, you rely on your current position to secure the next...If you need both hands and both feet to hold on to your existing position, you must stay where you were. You must have a free hand or foot to move up the ladder.

Move if you have a free hand, a "surplus of resources." If you don't have a surplus, you can't move - at least not securely.

Many people will take huge gambles in order to gain rewards. They'll spend a lot of money before knowing if their idea will pan out. They'll buy new office space before they have a real business set up. They'll use their clout with family and friends to try to sell them a product they have no idea if they'll care about. They'll spend months writing a book or album that they have no idea other people will read or listen to.

Instead, you should be asking yourself:What resources (time, money, skills, contacts, prospective customers) do I have, and are these resources enough to move forward?

If you don't have enough, then you need to gain them first before making any big moves.

For example, if you're trying to sell your book, try to get enough people who will buy your book to make writing the book satisfying for you.Thenyou should write the book.

If you want to open up an office space, try to get enough clients at the price you like that will justify you getting an office space.Thenyou should get that office.

Which takes us to a very simple point about making moves: Don't rely on resources that you "hope" will come. Rather, rely on your ability to secure the resources you need and maximize them to move forward.

Sure, it doesn't feel as thrilling as taking a huge leap into the unknown, but in the end, it's not the thrill you're after. It's progress.