Tasks Before Tools and Information

It can be easy to put the tools before the task.

I’ve always been a gadget person.  I think it’s a fair assumption that a lot of people in Western Civilization are.  We love our toys.  iPhones and Blackberrys, iPods and satellite radio, Wiis and Xboxes.  We’re a society that enjoys our technology, elevating it to a place of supremacy in our lives.  There’s nothing wrong with technology.  I LOVE technology.  The problem creeps into our lives when we put the tools before the task.  When we tell ourselves that the only way to surmount a task is with the proper tool.

It used to happen to me all the time when I was deeply immersed in technology.  I’m a creative person at heart but I used to stop myself from working on projects because I felt I didn’t have the right tools.

I couldn’t possibly write that story until I get my MacBook.  This Windows machine is SO ill-suited to the task.

I need a new notebook to write down my ideas in.

A new wireless keyboard and mouse would make writing SO much easier.

You may snicker but these are actual conversations I’ve had with myself.  If you’re being honest with yourself you know you’ve had them too.  It can be so easy to get caught up in picking the right horse that you don’t realize you already have two and the wagon will move by itself anyway.

I’ve tried, and largely been successful, to let go of that thinking when it comes to technology and creativity.  I’ve realized I don’t need all the right tools or information to start something.  Overthinking a situation often leaves the situation unsolved.  You need to dive in.  You can always come back and fill in the details or correct the problems later.

So what does all of this have to do with being Paleo or Primal?

When I approached going Paleo for the first time, it was probably one of the first things I did in my life that I didn’t fret about tools or information.  I didn’t feel like I needed to gather all of the information possible before I acted on it.  I anxiously tore through Mark Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint while I tried to enact the suggested changes on the fly.  When I felt I was doing okay with that, I grabbed Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution and did the same.  For once in my life I was just doing something without letting the Lizard Brain shout me down or tell me I had to find out everything first before I did it.

Even with this being the case, I find I still get bogged down by this way of thinking.  A while ago I wrote about how I was transforming into a Paleo Nerd.  I mentioned I had spent almost an entire evening cruising the Vibram web site, desiring a pair of those wonderful looking shoes.  What I didn’t write was that for a week afterwards, I almost didn’t run because I felt that the key to running was to get a pair of Vibrams.  Like somehow I couldn’t run without them and that I was doing myself some disservice by running in the pair of sneakers I had been using all along.

Do you see the flawed logic in that?

I would love to have a pair of Vibrams but that shouldn’t keep me from running.  Vibrams are, of course, the optimum solution but I don’t have the $100 to get a pair right now.  Just like in the old days when the MacBook or iPad was the optimum solution.  I’d LOVE to have one but that shouldn’t stop me from doing something right now with what I have.  This can be a difficult mental hurdle for some people to get over.  I can see that food sourcing probably falls into this type of thinking as well.  You may not live near a farmer’s market or independent farmer who sells directly to consumers.  You may not live near a Whole Foods or corner market where they sell organic foods.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat well.  It simply means you need to watch what you buy at the supermarket.  As you branch out and connect with other Paleo or Primal folks you may find better food sources.  For now though, do what you can with what you have.  You can fill in the details later.

Show me a person who puts tools and information before a task and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t get very much done.  Take a deep breath, close your eyes, let go of your inhibitions, and just GO.  Go for a walk.  Go buy whole foods even if all you can do is shop at a supermarket.

Go do something.

You can buy your Vibrams and professional workout gear later.  You don’t need it right now, you’re too busy doing something.


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