Imagine you’re riding a bike. You’re pedaling along fine, there are a few creaks, but it all seems to work. As you’re riding along, you look down at your front wheel and you notice that it’s wobbling a bit. Everything is riding fine just like a normal bike, but the front wheel is a little bent causing it to wobble.
The bike isn’t necessarily broken, it’s still performing its basic function (with ease), however, you can sense that this isn’t quite right. If you continue riding, you run the risk of hitting a bump or reaching the wheels pinnacle level of stress sending you flying over the handlebars as the front wheel folds in half. So the obvious thing to do is have it checked out and actually fixed, however, we could argue: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a flawed mindset in the sense that it is only concerned with the now—the short term—and completely negates the long term. Why fix what’s not broken? Perhaps because it’ll soon be outdated, out of style, out of interest, and ultimately, out of mind.
Most often, problems don’t surface until it’s too late and then we’re kicking ourselves in the ass because we didn’t fix it or because we didn’t explore the opportunity to experiment and grow.
Imagine being the last person trying to sell horse buggies as everyone began to manufacture cars. Now imagine being the first person that made an attempt to improve a system which already seemed to be functioning just fine.
Imagine being the last company to produce flat screen televisions because the box televisions were enough. Now imagine being the first company to set the stage—to set the standard.
Imagine being the last company to develop a touchscreen phone and only tried to sell flip phones. Now imagine being the first person to rethink the way all phones would eventually be used.
Just because something functions and “works” on a surface level, doesn’t mean it’s truly working. The mere completion of a task is no longer a sufficient definition for working.
At the moment, standard cars that run on gas “work,” but if we look at them in the long term, we can see that they’re inefficient and unsustainable. If something is inefficient and unsustainable, just how much does it actually work? Nonrenewable resources (fossil fuels) are labeled as such for a reason, however, the market insists on using the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. Our efforts should be invested in renewable, sustainable, efficient, and environmentally friendly sources and solutions.
Imagine being the last company to develop a car that operates on renewable energy sources. Now imagine being the company that not only produces the sustainable and eco-friendly car, but believes the roadways can be approached differently in such a way that driving on them produces energy itself and allows vehicles to communicate with one another?
You don’t have to be an “early adopter,” you merely need to be an adopter that is constantly thinking forward. Surface level thinkers use the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” because they aren’t capable of seeing that down the road, these things won’t work.
The more you experiment, innovate, and essentially fix the things that aren’t yet broken, the more you will find yourself on the cutting edge. The way you find yourself here, on the cutting edge of innovation, is by adopting the mindset that anything can be rethought, worked differently, and fixed. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is rooted in ignorance. If we dearly followed these words, we’d still be cavemen.