Tech innovator and investor Scott Belsky told Tim Ferriss, “In the startup world, resources are like carbs. Resourcefulness is like muscle. When you develop it, it actually stays with you and impacts everything you do going forward.”
So often we think we just need one more thing. For startups, it may be another round of funding or a talented new hire. For the rest of us, it might be a new client, account, or piece of information. We can ask ourselves if the path towards realizing our target is something we’re just going to burn off after one use (like a carb), or if we could intelligently use the experience to make us stronger (build muscle).
It’s easy to get lost trying to plot our next step, especially when we become attached to a perceived “ideal” move that will put us on track for success. Belsky’s point is to get away from thinking the next resource is the answer to our problems, and into the mindset that we just need to be resourceful enough to make continuous forward progress. No ideal moves required.
Imagine a boulder blocking a path. If we’ve only ever pushed rocks out of the way and can’t get this one to budge, our thirst for resources will leave us scratching our heads and cursing. We’ll think that we just need more people or a tool that we don’t seem to have handy. However, if we’ve developed our resourcefulness muscle by embracing alternate solutions to previous problems, we’re going to quickly move past the old/ideal way and start considering new solutions based on what we already have at our disposal.
Belsky wants us to remember that resources are focused on single ideas and job-specific tools, while resourcefulness is focused on creativity and ingenuity. To be resourceful is not just to see a question and answer, but to see the option of accepting a different answer or even changing the question. If we don’t make it a habit for ourselves and our teams to think this way, we risk just burning off the resource carbs and not building the resourcefulness muscle.