The Fit Student
Warp Speed the Mormon Way
Volume 25 Issue 37 2017-09-22
What if you could warp speed toward success? I mean, go from student to celebrity overnight? Well, it’s possible. Shane Snow shows how in his book Smartcuts. He tells how game developers create "Warp Tunnels"—holes hurling players from world to world—in a flash. Why? For debugging purposes. So, warp tunnels exist in games, says Snow. Why not in real life?
In my life, I warp tunneled dreams during grad school. But when one goal got stuck, I fluttered to the next.
My first aim? The summer before grad school, I took a break. Instead of preparing to TA, I spent the summer trekking on my ten-speed. While a lack of TA preparation took a toll, cycling became a passion. Later, a fellow student urged me to cycle Canada—for charity. So, in preparation, I cycled all winter. With a frost-bitten face and brakes that failed on the highway, my big day never came. Warp drive faltered.
My next dream? With little training, I warp drove my way into dance. I joined a ballet troop. One taught by a revered Russian. Yet, I tottered while they pirouetted. Later, I auditioned for a dance minor—but was disqualified in the first round. Not accepting defeat, I hired dance student choreographers. Within six months, I danced at a creative conference. Warp speed worked halfway.
My next goal? I marched into the world of music. Twice a week, I rushed to private singing lessons, stopping along the way to sing-a-long with some Christian singers. Next, I auditioned for the university choir—getting placed alongside low altos. Inspired, I formed a band—of half-hearted rockers. Warp drive failed before it began.
The last ambition? Film. I signed up for a film workshop, and wound up co-starring in a documentary. I then secured my professor a role as the next David Suzuki. Although hired to write his script, I had a change of heart. Warp drive shied away.
Like me, Mormons move from goal to goal, not stopping when the door gets stuck.
Shane Snow uses Mormons and warp tunnels as metaphors in his book Smartcuts: The Breakthrough Power of Lateral Thinking. Let’s tunnel toward success, the Shane Snow way:
• Mormons have a game called "Bigger and Better." In this game, they knock on doors to trade something small for something "bigger and better." For instance, a string might exchange for a stick of gum. A stick of gum might exchange for a book. A book for a toaster. And so on. If someone says no, the Mormon moves to the next door—quickly.
• When you fail once, you don’t get an edge the next time around. In fact, you’re as equipped next time around as someone who never even tried.
• But, when comedians fail at weekly performances, they get feedback that refines them for the big show. So, failing with feedback helps refine you for the big goal.
• And one small win begets another. Get small wins daily. Small wins add up to momentum.
• When one door closes, open another. Don’t pound on a bolted door until you bleed.
• Find mentors who come naturally. Don’t force them. If the feminist instructor loves your cookies, you’ve made more than chocolate chips. You’ve made a mentor.
My warp speed got tempered in time. Full-time work and a thesis left no time for play. But daily small wins make for big momentum. So, when you desire a dream, warp speed the Mormon way.
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