Prevent trouble before it arises.

What is rooted is easy to nourish.
What is recent is easy to correct.
What is brittle is easy to break.
What is small is easy to scatter.
Prevent trouble before it arises.
Put things in order before they exist.
The giant pine tree
grows from a tiny sprout.
The journey of a thousand miles
starts from beneath your feet.
Rushing into action, you fail.
Trying to grasp things, you lose them.
Forcing a project to completion,
you ruin what was almost ripe.
Therefore the Master takes action
by letting things take their course.
He remains as calm
at the end as at the beginning.
He has nothing,
thus has nothing to lose.
What he desires is non-desire;
what he learns is to unlearn.
He simply reminds people
of who they have always been.
He cares about nothing but the Tao.
Thus he can care for all things.

DDJ Chpt 64

When you are by yourself, it’s not such a big deal to allow small things slip by. A dirty dish here, an email not sent over there. But, those tiny things compound over time. And, even more so, things escalate when you share a space with others, when you’re a part of a team.

The easiest thing is to just put in the tiny extra effort to make sure things are correct from the beginning.

Once you make a mistake and let things get messy, they only escalate. Then others have to double check your work. Then it’s 3x of work.

1) The original work of doing the task.

2) The “manager” having to double check and correct the incorrect task.

3) The “manager” having to give feedback back to the original person.

Of course, most times there’s actually even more time and energy lost. Because, often we go under the safe assumption that the work will be done well. So, it’s only later once the problem has become a huge problem that we notice the mistakes. Then it’s even harder to fix and that person’s bad habit has been established.

It’s far more important and easier to focus in the beginning to make sure everything is correct. With that firm foundation and stable base then you can build something wonderful.


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