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Question Assumptions

So often the traditional methods and means of getting things done are built around assumptions that are either outdated, or don’t apply in a novel situation. Mark Wahlberg was able to shoot several fight scenes, which typically take 20 days each, for a movie whose entire shooting schedule was 35 days. How did he do it? He actually filmed real fights, the same way that HBO films live fights for pay per view.

From 37 signals:

Experts go with what they know. And they’ll often insist something needs to take a long time. But when you don’t have tons of resources, you need to ask if there’s a simpler, judo way to get the impact you desire. Sometimes there’s a better way than the “best” way.

The question becomes, then, how can you tell if there is a simpler way? That is the result of being honest with yourself about what it is you are trying to achieve.

The goal was to make the fights seem real. Not to make them look good. To seem real. Focusing on that changes the requirements.

It enables you to switch mental modes: We aren’t making a movie, we are shooting a fight. That happens all the time, in real time, on TV. When you re-examine your requirements, you can see where there are shortcuts to be made not only because restrictions that previously existed no longer do, but a clearer understanding of the goal enables you to step outside your current domain and re-examine other domains for best practices. In the case of “The Fighter”, the other domain was that of sports television: literally brimming with expertise and best practices around capturing live action in a compelling way.

The enemy isn’t best practices and acquired wisdom, it’s a failure to understand truly what it is your want to achieve, and from there search for expertise in other domains.