Derek Sivers

Programmer, writer, avid student of life. I make useful things, and share what I learn.

Articles → Have you looked under the chickens?

One of the problems with being an expert at something, is you forget what it’s like to not know the basics.

Because I like being very easy to contact, I get all kinds of questions about the music business and entrepreneurship.

Some of them are so basic, I’m almost stumped!

It’s like someone asks you, “I’ve got this henhouse full of chickens, but I don’t see any eggs. What should I do?”

You think, “Hmmm... Maybe it’s a strange disease? Maybe the chickens are old? Maybe it’s temperature?”

Before getting complicated, you dare to ask the obvious, “Uh... have you looked under the chickens?”

You hear a pause, and then: “Hey! There they are! Wow! I never thought of that! Thanks so much!”

Computer technicians, plumbers and doctors must have this more than anyone.

I like getting these questions, though. They’re a good reminder of beginner’s mind. I try to remember all the questions I must have asked when I was just getting started.

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