Mastering your Technology Gap

Let’s say you drive to work every day following a certain route. It’s the route you take, because it’s the route everyone takes. Then one day, there’s a bad accident at a major intersection. Traffic’s stopped for blocks. What can you do?

Grumbling, you turn your car around, head back a few blocks, then pick your way through a few side streets and find a different way to work. And lo and behold: although it’s more mileage and uses all these back streets, your new route actually gets you to work faster!

The “detour” that turned out to be a new and better way of getting there had been available for months. You just never thought to try it, until an accident forced you to.

And that’s exactly the problem with most businesses in America today, both huge companies and individual entrepreneurs: we wait until the accident to go out and find the new and better way.Because people resist change, we allow the technology gap to widen and widen, without exploring it. We don’t change suppliers when things are working okay as they are. We don’t try new software, new tools, new technologies. We say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”– and we end up losing out to those who took the initiative to find new and better ways before the accident, those who are actively exploring their technology gap and who never wait for the accident to happen. The motto of the successful businessperson today is, “If it ain’t broken yet, good– now go find a better one!”And herein lies the key to success. Recall what the sixth and final law of economic alchemy tells us: your immediate economic potential is defined by your technology gap. Here’s what this means: how well you explore that area of “what you don’t know about yet,” and how regularly and rigorously you explore it, how much you discipline your mind to step out of its routines and look into new ways of doing things that you haven’t yet adopted, is what will determine your economic potential. Now, you know that there is no limit to resources, no limit to technology, no limit to demand, and no limit to wealth. Aren’t there any limits on anything?!

Yes. In fact, there is one thing that is limited, and this is perhaps your most precious resource, for it can never be replaced, no matter how wealthy, clever or powerful you are:

Your time.You cannot grow more hours in the day. However, you can make better use of those hours, just as American farmers learned to make better use of the same number of acres. And there is nothing more important in leveraging your time than the Internet– from scheduling and e-mail to video-conferencing and making presentations. Just as the computer is more than simply a glorified typewriter (which is exactly how most people used it at first), the Internet is far more than simply a glorified phone directory (which is how many are still using it today).

It is an instantaneous global communication system. Your ability to use it to leverage your time is the key to your success.