People sometimes ask me how I figure out things that I know nothing about. Part of it is my training, part of it is experience, and part of it is the magical make-up of how I am created (which can be super crazy to be sometimes). There are a couple of practical things:
- I believe I can.
- I don’t like losing.
- I stay with things longer.
But a big part of how I do what I do has nothing to do with me and everything to do with cheating. I cheat a lot.
Take Chuck the Electrician for example. Chuck is a friend of friend and he always answers my calls. So when I was trying to figure out how to get power from a power pole to a water pump on a remote mountain in Nicaragua, I cheated. I hiked to the top and held out my left arm, lifted my left leg until I got a single bar, and called. “Hey, Chuck. Doug here on a mountain in Nicaragua. These people need a miracle, and I have never taken power from a power pole. I don’t really want to die. Can you help?” By day’s end, after sweating bullets and trying not to soil myself, the job was done—another village with water, and of course, my team asking me, “How do you know these things?”
I cheat. I call Chuck. I look at the test paper on the next desk. I look at the kid who knows the answers. I am perfectly fine with cheating as long as the rules allow it, and in my world of miracles, cheating is fair game.
So I cheat. I ask people who know and, perhaps more importantly, I am always cultivating a list of books and people who are super smart and already know. I don’t have time or desire to reinvent the wheel. I thrive on solving the problem. I don’t care who gets the credit.
One of my biggest cheats is asking God. I keep this under wraps with most of the corporate clients because they would think I was looney tunes or they would be afraid of law suits. Even Christian businessmen don’t entirely get this method. So, I just quietly cheat. It doesn’t matter if they believe in God or not—it works for me because I do. Here’s why. If God is whom He said He is, then He is not only the initial creator but the beginning of creative wisdom. If He is God, then He knows everything and because I believe in Him I can ask.
What a cheat! I have access to everything that He knows. I have access to the greatest creative mind that ever was. So I ask the Kid who has the answers, and I cannot tell you the thousands of times that the solution can only be credited to a crazy moment of inspiration that follows a quick and simple prayer. It goes something like this, “I have no clue. You know everything. What is the problem with x? Why isn’t this working?”
I dare you to start cheating too. Just admit what you don’t know and get some other intelligent, creative minds in the mix. Make a quick phone call. Send a text. If you really want to go out on a limb, ask God. Dare you.