Shortcuts and Showing Off

Do you ever wing it?

There is a time and a place for “winging it” and that is not always. There is also a difference between improvisation and out and out “winging it”. Improvisation can be a very good thing provided that you don’t go too far. And having the confidence to improvise can be very expressive and creative. But when that stems from arrogance, it can go badly wrong. I err on the over preparation side. I guess the trick is to know when some measure of winging it is OK and when winging it is going to cause a whole heap of shit to fall from the skies. And some in their winging it, are unaware of how others may see them.

I can remember one excruciating meeting, in a technical context. The CEO of the company I was involved with was giving a presentation to a technical audience, including members from our company and members from another company. He had not done any “homework”. In this he began to “wing it” and dig himself an ever-deeper hole. As far as I could tell he was largely oblivious. There was nothing I could do to stop him and make the situation better. I could see the ticker tape thought “who is this wanker?” running across the foreheads of the audience. But he kept on going. I was absolutely gobsmacked. “What a stupid thing to do!” To me, in my mind, if you know the audience is technical, then best not go there if you are not. And if you are going to go there, you need some preparation. This was an important meeting and my respect for the guy nosedived.

But some cannot resist this temptation to blag, having taken a shortcut they then start to show off. “Look at me!” Only maybe it would be a good thing if a hole opened up in the floor.

Nowadays shortcuts are one of the components of a sales pitch. This gizmo will do the work for you and you won’t have to, it is ultra-convenient. Which kind of means that you forget how to do the work. Some are always looking for shortcuts, they have the short-cut mentality. Which often means that they sacrifice quality for speed. It can mean that things are done shoddily and via winging-it. This can result in more work than the short-cut was meant to circumvent because there can be a mess to be cleaned up. Winging-it can work but it can also go tits up.

There is a continuum where short-cut becomes winging-it which strays into bullshit and then into utter gobshite.

If people find a short-cut, a life hack, they can think themselves mighty clever and then wish to show off about it.

Having cued this up:

Do I have the short-cut mentality?

Are shortcuts a good thing?

Are they clever and worth showing off about?