Letting go of what you think you need

Two types of requirements are set for anything to happen.

The first type is the Immutable kind — requirements you cannot change or would be extremely difficult to change. For example, a license is generally required to operate a vehicle and a law degree is required to practice law.

The second type is the Self-Stipulated kind — requirements you decide are necessary in order to move forward.

Self-stipulated requirements come in many forms: they can be the need for more information, certain questions answered, or someone’s (or thing’s) approval.

For the most part, it’s not worth spending too much time thinking about Immutable requirements unless you want to directly challenge them (see: Uber, Taxi Medallions).

Self-stipulated requirements, however, are worth a regular audit.

While the intent of requirements is to set one up for success, they can also serve as unnecessary roadblocks.

So it’s important to ask yourself: “do I really need the things I think I need in order to move forward?”

Sometimes the answer will be yes; other times, upon closer examination and honest assessment, the answer is no.

If the answer is no, then 1) you are more independent and capable than you thought, and 2) the reasons for you waiting in the first place are not the ones you originally thought.

Whatever the actual reasons are, make sure to understand them.

And just as soon as you do, it might be wise to learn to let go of them too.

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William Liao

Taiwanese American, daily blogger of ideas about impactful work in service of others, photographer (ephemera.photography)