The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.
~ Josh Kaufman, Personal MBA
As a field, we were obsessed with methods, approaches, tools, theoretical orientations, and schools of thought. Money poured into establishing treatment efficacy differences have not yield much fruit; therapists investment in time, effort and money to train in specific models have not demonstrated improvement in our results.
I suspect that one of our key mistakes is a failure to learn first principles, instead of methods.
Information does not equal to transformation.
When I was in secondary school, I had a good friend who seem to morph every time we return from our month-long school holidays. For the rest of us, we came back with grandiose updates about girlfriends – factitious or not – the latest music we’ve heard, and other raving topics. Every cycle of return to school in January and July, most of us were pimple-ridden with awkwardness. Herman had the acne, but was focused and hard-pressed for an audience.
Herman was different. He wasn’t the coolest kid. In fact, he was scrawny, somewhat of an oddball, and didn’t quite fit in. Every holiday that he came back from, he would use us as guinea pigs to test out his latest magic trick. And it was usually a flop. Cards fall of his hands, coins did not reappear as it should. And of course, this was met with testosterone mockery. At least for the start.
But after a few more vacations, we were floored. He almost seemed like he came from an apprenticeship with Houdini. His close-up card tricks became seemingly flawless. He even had our teachers pop in between classes, gasped in amazement.
As it seems, in every class, they would always be at least one smart Alec. This person repeatedly tried to call our Herman’s bluff. “Ah ha!! I saw that. You are cheating!”
What do you expect, smart Alec? Real Magic?
Here’s the thing: as noted by Seth Godin in his book Tribe, citing the great magician Jamy Ian Swiss, it’s easy to figure out how a trick is done, but the real difficult part is to develop the art of doing it. Knowing how a magic trick is done does not make you a magician. (For a good example on this, check out the magic competition TV program, Penn & Teller: Fool Us show).