Scratch Your Own Itch To Focus Your Value

scratch your own itch
Solving your own problems can be valuable to more than just yourself. From svenduplic’s Flickr photostream.

The great thing about the problems you face is that it is likely common, not unique. If you have the problem, then people that are doing similar work are likely facing the same problems. If you get an itch to solve the problem and work through it thoroughly, you are scratching your own itch. And by so doing, you may have created a solution for many others. Scratching your itch not only brought you relief but it can be transformed into value.

Those are where the great solutions lie. Working through a problem intimately opens up insight and understanding that others who are on the outside will never appreciate.

However, outsiders will value your solution highly because you paid the price. That price from scratching comes from:

  • Seeing nuances that are not apparent
  • Having mastery over systemic interactions
  • Understanding what doesn’t work
  • Perceiving dependencies between different parts
  • Persevering enough to find elegance

The world will pay for higher fidelity. We love well-designed products and ideas we connect with emotionally. Part of it is self-actualization. The other is more pragmatic – it saves us a ton of time and brainpower to simplify a solution to something that is focused and perfect.

The Innovator’s Opportunity

As you are working, you can create. It is an opportunity to innovate, that is, if you embrace the problems around you. It is an opportunity to scale a solution to problems that are common. Innovation is not necessarily always around glamorous insights and timely epiphanies. Many times it is in the mundane handling of the problems that are in front of you.

Businesses and ventures are made from scratching your own itch. Your own value even counts on it today. Being like everyone else gets you put in a line of mediocrity. That’s a dangerous path when all of us can pick the talent we want easily from accessible distribution online.

I am not sure we have much choice but to climb the value chain in order to stand out. Scratching an itch that others don’t even detect as worthwhile may be your next breakthrough.

So what are the itches worth scratching in your world?

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