The Further You Progress, the Fewer Teachings


I've been saving this quote for a couple of years. It has been a constant reminder that it's all invented, and any innovation worth its salt has not been done before. In some cases it may work, in others, it may not. Nevertheless, it is well worth doing it anyway.

The phrase encapsules the aspiration of leading in any era — uncertainty is a feeling and concept those who went before us and those who work alongside experienced and touch every day.

Two main forces are at play to keep us from acting:

  1. An addiction to information makes us data rich and theory poor — we spend cycles hoarding more of what has been done before and too little on taking the step to initiate something original. 
  2. The quest to first control the environment in which we are operating — we end up delaying opportunity as we buy time/or our way into making the perfect start (an attempt in the best of circumstances).

The more we copy what has been done before, the less attention we pay to the opportunity that is in front of us.

"Ultimately, you must forget about technique. The further your progress, the fewer teachings there are."

This applies to publishing — formats, voice, content, media mix — and it applies to the integration of the social space in between, as I call it, where customers and brands negotiate the ever moving line of collaboration, acquisition, and creation.

[image by Garr Reynolds]


Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effects on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.