Thursday, July 23, 2015

Don’t farm, fish

Opportunities are as big or as small as we make them. It all depends on the attitude and posture and context with which we approach the world. 

Debono’s research draws an interesting comparison between two archetypes of opportunists, farmers and fishermen. 


A farmer stays within his own patch. His emphasis is on one field of operation. He is able to search out opportunity, but only in a predefined direction. 


A fisherman, on the other hand, owns no farm. His emphasis is on equipping himself with skill and good mental equipment, and then bringing it to any situation. He puts down his nets and hopes for the best, positioning himself to look for and follow up any opportunity wherever it appears. 


The question is, which archetype is better? 


I would argue for the fisherman. First of all, he’s agile. His work isn’t restricted to a single ten acre plot. The entire ocean is his canvas. The world is literally his oyster. And so, he takes his talents to diverse parts of the ocean and uses them to create value. 


Secondly, the fisherman doesn’t have to bear the burden of ownership. He keeps his overhead low. Instead of having to feed the monster all day, he can experiment and pursue new and exciting market opportunities outside of his traditional wheelhouse. And that allows his work to evolve and expand. 


Lastly, he invests in his own capabilities. He bets on himself. He is the tool being used. And that gives him autonomy over his life. 


Don’t farm, fish.


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