I’ve spent my entire career looking for a magic bullet. Yes, it’s true, I admit it. It’s naive, it’s purposeless and the laws of physics pretty much don’t work that way. The kicker is that I know better. Sorry, we all look for one, but there is no magic bullet.
I’m not a behavioral PHD, but my personal feeling is that the reasoning mind works so diligently to find solutions to any problem put in front of it, that at any point, the mind feels that it will find a permanent solution and move on to solve something else.
Lets take something completely inane. Say you have a coffee maker that you have to put water in every morning to make coffee. You hate that. I know I do. I just want coffee first thing, I don’t want any extra work to do. Eventually, you’re in Starbucks and notice they never have to put water in their machine. Why is that you ask? simple answer: they have it hooked up to a water line. You think, I can do that at home. So, you call a plummer, run a pipe from the main line (at great expense) to the coffee maker, problem solved permanently. I will never have to put water in the coffee maker again. You are totally satisfied, It’s a magic bullet. Until the coffee maker breaks. Then there’s a new problem. If I could only find a coffee maker that lasts forever and never breaks. Good luck with that one, I’m happy if I find one that makes it to New Years from Christmas Day.
We look for the magic bullet everywhere. The next project, the next relationship, the next business idea, the next job. Nothing solves permanently. At the risk of alienating my religious friends I’ll say that religion offers a magic bullet of permanent peace, permanent salvation, etc., etc. But, as the saying goes: “Jesus Saves,” not “Jesus Solves.” No matter how committed you are, there is still a lot of work and adjustment to do while walking around earth. Eternal life? That sounds like a magic bullet. I don’t know, I guess we’ll eventually find out.
Even the magic bullet in the movie JFK had a lot of work to do. As Kevin Costner kept reminding us. “Back and to the left. Back and to the left. That was one magic bullet.” If the magic bullet itself has to work so hard to be magic, what makes you think there are any shortcuts for you.
Every project is another opportunity to advance your skill set. It’s never a breakthrough in and of itself. Your success is not just out of reach. It’s happening right now. Success is the never ending process of realizing there is no magic bullet. This project leads to the next project. One challenge leads to another, so learn to take joy in the process of moving challenge to challenge. Do the best you can, find your way to the next one, and the next and the next.
Relationships are not any different. You are finding the way to the next moment. But, what moment are you finding your way to? Are you sculpting the moments or are you just watching them arrive and pass?
Since there is no such thing as a magic bullet, overnight success, perfect relationships, what are we to do to move things forward in our careers and life? The idea of creating conscious value. If you ask yourself in any situation, job, task, relationship, am I creating value now? The simple act of asking the question puts you much farther ahead than looking for a magic bullet.
You see, looking for the magic bullet is the act of looking for the world around you to bring something to you that will solve all your problems. But remember, a bullet’s trajectory, no matter how magic, will eventually succumb to gravity and end up in the dirt.
Creating value is the act of bringing something to the world around you which is a far more powerful position. For to create value is to break through the challenges and the transience for one shining moment of clarity and success. String together many moments of creating value and you will create a life well lived.