In my current business, I was offered made-for-you startup packages. Companies, trainers, and coaches were eager to sell complete systems they had used so that I would get the same results. I did not buy.

There are flaws in the logic. (1) Why should “made-for-you” copies suddenly perform again in my tiny market exposure? (2) “Proven results” follow skill and cleverness, not static packaged systems.

(1) Once lucrative patterns have likely run their course, or they wouldn’t be for sale. Developers exploit (apply)their cash-cow techniques instead of selling them to me. If their platform does not expand on autopilot for them any longer, autopilot won’t help me either in my minute market exposure.

(2) Economic conditions are volatile, and markets are fickle. Marketing requires quick reflexes. Successful developers predict the market and adapt to what it will need. That does not describe worn-out made-for-you formulas. If I follow a fixed checklist, I am at a loss when something in my situation doesn’t match the template. Adaptability is missing.

On the other hand, I have bought legitimate business training from teachers and schools who recognize my need to understand what I am doing. They do not limit to static formulas. Instead, they lead me through exercises that develop my judgment and skill. After enough homework and experience (passage of time), I develop business ability. As in a formal university, the best teachers build my independence and accept me as a colleague.

There is no strict good/bad demarcation between vendors. Practical value is the amount of meaningful growth a program brings to a diligent student, and the result always depends on my performance, too. The offer that appeals to me is the one that makes me stronger.

I keep these posts short and sweet. The other half of this lecture in my online course solidifies the point with two more stories: chickens and children. You might even be able to guess the stories if you know me well.

The hatchery exhibit at the local museum teaches that if somebody “helps” by cracking the shell for an emerging chick, the chick dies. The exercise of breaking the shell from the inside is the stimulation that gives a passive blob independent growth. Before hatching, the organism has potential. It requires exhausting effort to abandon the protection of the shell and realize that potential.

This applies to my business. Rising to a higher level is not what I buy or am given. It is what the challenges make of me. That has little to do with money. People often bypass higher income to choose that which has more meaning in their lives.

My parents were less interested in my compliance than they were in my understanding. They wanted me to follow directions, but they said explicitly that the immediate behavior was less important than my lifelong understanding of principles. The unwavering question was “do you understand why you should do this?” They prepared me for independence instead of blind obedience inside the shell.

Other parents use the made-for-you approach. They construct rules and check off boxes as their children qualify for immediate rewards. The system works for training dogs. I have heard adults who were trained that way say “now that I can provide for myself, I don’t need to follow those rules any longer.” Obesity is only one of their problems.

Epilog: Some of my learning, measured by content, extends beyond what my parents taught me. Some situations I can improve more easily than they did. The real value they imparted was the practice of perpetual learning, never considering the book-in-progress finished, always anticipating more light. One significant testament to their success is that my children stand on much higher ground than I do. Recognizing that as achievement is one of the lessons I learned from my parents.

Photo by Tiger Lily from Pexels

Audio file