A few years ago I was asked to give a speech to a group of entrepreneurs on their way to Startup Chile. As part of my talk they asked me to write a list of 3 to 5 things that I do to be successful. While I did do that list, I explicitly said “I can tell you my 3 to 5 things I do on a daily basis but that’s what works for me, in the context of my life, my personality and mindset.”
It’s a similar experience when I get asked to write or talk about innovation: people, groups, organizations want a list.
The reason is because uncertainty is unbearable for most people. And a list or template to follow at least provides a sense of ease. I mean we all do this is some way or another. The internet is full of lists (which is the type of content that gets the most clicks) for crying out loud!
Common question: “What’s the one thing…” or “What are the top three things…” True answer: There is no one thing, and there are no top three things.
— Jason Fried (@jasonfried) January 24, 2020
But you see, by the time we come up with a list of three to five things we’re distilling a series of events into simple lessons. We all do. But you have to take everything you read, listen to as another perspective; not the perspective.
The bottom line is life is much more than a list, a recipe to follow. You have your own, I have mine, and we can all learn from each other. But there is no one list, thing, answer that rules them all.