Experience Leads To Not-Doing

There’s a grace that comes with experience when form follows function. Simplicity is the goal. The more experienced one becomes, the less work is needed to complete a specific task. This is accomplished by eliminating the unnecessary.

When using an axe to procure raw materials for basic needs from the forest, the more skilled and experienced the user, the fewer swings of the axe it takes. Each swing is planned and the progression is methodical. There is no guesswork. The end result is clear and achieved by a minimum of labor because nothing extra or unneeded is done.

When snubbing a canoe down a set of rapids, the beginner may plant the pole 100 times, making tiny adjustments to the the path of the boat relative to the current in order to avoid obstacles. Through the same set of rapids and with an identical boat, an old hand may plant the pole only once, relying on choosing a line and subtle shifts in body weight to thread the needle of rocks and obstructions.

Through experience we learn what to do, but also what not to do. How we do it is influenced by what we’re trying to accomplish. A good thing to keep in mind in our modern culture of busyness; often you can do it better by doing less, not more.

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