Just Add Water Versus Slowly Marinating The Why

Today at the supermarket I noticed that fresh pumpkins now come pre-printed so there is no need to carve-up or draw on a pumpkin anymore — instant 🎃!

I watched a few episodes of Mindhunter and noticed how different it was from other things I have been seeing. It is clear that Fincher takes an admirable approach to his work:

“There’s no time for character in movies…Look at All The President’s Men — everything is character. Now, movies are about saving the world from destruction. There aren’t a lot of scenes in movies, even the ones I get to make, where anyone gets to muse about the why. It’s mostly the ticking clock. And in this show it’s hard to find the ticking clock. But the thing is: I don’t care if the whole scene is five pages of two people in a car sipping coffee from paper cups as long as there’s a fascinating power dynamic and I learn something about them. And I do not care if the car is doing somewhere between 25 and 35 miles per hour.” —David Fincher (#)

This common lack of having enough time to understand “the why” shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. We want the answer instead of the question. We want to know the takeaways up front. We don’t want to think too hard. We like things when they are easy and make sense to our needs (not yours). And we want it now. We want to just add water for instant understanding, and go go go.

But you’d be so much more fulfilled if you just took the time to hear the why. That unfortunately takes time. You need to marinate in the problem space, and come to learn that the good answers all come from knowing the problem well. Time is ticking — can you wait? Probably not. Fast food that is greasy and salty hits the spot, or just adding hot water to make a quick soup works well too. And is that marinated chicken that is broiled to perfection really that good and worth the wait when I have so many more important things to do? Yes.

Useful commentary via Twitter:


Hmmm, good one. Thanks!

Muriel has this right.

1 Comment

I’m really loving Mindhunter 🙂 Fascinating show especially for a true crime fanatic like myself. Communicating the “why” is important in my experience as a lead. Learning to do so in a way that sparks curiosity instead of silencing it is the real challenge.