January 21, 2022

Creating a framework to solve all your problems


You’ve probably heard the phrase, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

The origin of this proverb has been highly contested, although the meaning has remained consistent for many centuries.

Teaching someone a useful skill is more beneficial in the long run than just filling that need for them in the moment.

Make sense. It’s about creating leverage.

What’s interesting is, the concept of teaching a man to fish typically takes place within the context of an interpersonal relationship. It’s usually a father and his son, a mentor and his student, a manager and his employee, a pet and its owner, and so on.

But the individual implications of this fishing proverb can be profound too. Each of us can, in a sense, teach ourselves to fish.

Bandura, the famous psychologist and professor, first coined the term self efficacy to describe the human choice making experience. It’s the belief in our own ability to influence events that effect our life, and take control over the way these events are experienced.

How much of that do you have? To what degree have you been able to teach yourself to fish?

In a world where people never imagine they have the choice to do or not to do something, this theory is powerful. Looking back, one of the reasons I never really enjoyed consulting that much is because my clients always asked me to give them fish. They paid me to fill their needs in the moment, rather than teach them a useful skill.

And look, I was happy to take their money and feel useful. But the problem with that business model is, it’s exhausting and unsatisfying and it doesn’t scale.

Eventually, rather than solving people’s problems, I decided to build a framework so they could learn to solve their own. That’s why personal creativity management was born. It’s a discipline founded on the idea of becoming more efficacious.

Prolific teaches creative professionals how to fish. With over three hundred tools in the system, aka lures, there isn’t a problem we haven’t thought of.

Want your company to drive innovation? We’ve got a few tools for that.

Can’t afford to follow your passion? Several tools for that too.

Feeling depressed and can’t do your work? Definitely some tools for that.

My thinking was, once people can learn to name their problems with the creative process, we can give them tools to drive a wedge in the crack, get their fingers into it and inch their way out.

My recommendation to anyone who is struggling to execute your ideas is, give yourself leverage. Don’t try to fill that single need in the moment, find a framework that can solve all your problems over the long term.

And you’ll feed yourself for a lifetime.

How could you become a more efficacious fisherman?