Looking For Water, Digging Up Treasure

Imagine you’re a farmer in central China. The year is 1974. You and a couple guys you’ve known since childhood are out in the countryside, digging a new well. You’ve got shovels, picks, buckets, rope and pipe. It’s not exactly easy work, but not much of a challenge either—just another day on the job.

What you don’t realize is that you’re about to unearth the first of thousands of terracotta warriors marking the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. It’s one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of all time, and all you’ve got is a dirt bucket.


To their continuing credit, those farmers didn’t just keep going with their picks and shovels. They stopped what they were doing and found some archaeologists who could grasp the enormity of their discovery, and take steps to preserve the awesome discovery

That’s the situation where we find ourselves when the line between scope and discovery blurs. We have the potential to discover unthought-of opportunities—and to come up woefully ill-equipped.

Do you know whether you’re digging a well or unearthing the 8th Wonder of the World? Are you giving yourself enough time to make the distinction? Are you going to keep digging for water, or see what’s really beneath your feet?

Always ask yourself: What problem are we trying to solve?

Always ask yourself: What problem are we trying to solve?



Then ask: Is it the same one we started with?



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  1. Pingback: The Friday Roundup – defining success, 5 words daily, 7 paradoxes, analysis paralysis, and discovering the 8th wonder of the world

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