Play with me: When I ___, I read Enzyme so that I ____

Context: I sent this message to a my weekly digest group Enzyme for Thought, and now I’m sharing it here, particularly to my followers on Medium. Why? Because the Inter“net” is the best place to catch & be caught with each other.😊 If you haven’t read the Enzyme, check it out or sign up here.

Why would someone read Enzymes for Thoughts?

I’ve been thinking about this question for a long long time. It’s like that amazing yet unsettling feeling when you have no idea why your lover loves you. Not out of insecurity, more out of curiosity.

At the most “spiritual” level, the answer is that it doesn’t matter. Humankind keeps projecting causality into the universe, because we yearn for things to make sense. Incoherent stuff, which is most of reality, is either filtered out by our limited brain processing or experienced as extreme discomfort. Think of the last challenges you face, be it a work assignment or an emotional conflict. Not Knowing must have been so hard.

Yet, to quote Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “we are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience”. We must embrace the human condition and perhaps dare to try to bring some clarity into its temporary existence.

With that, here is an invitation for you to collaborate with me on this small endeavor: to answer that question, with a bit of flair.

Entering Job To Be Done

What if I think of this Enzyme for Thoughts as a product and that you are all customers? What is the Job To Be Done that you all “hire” this Enzyme to do in your life? Let me guide you through the process with my new “innovation consultant” hat (yes, that’s actually my job title now, hehe)

A brief disclaimer on theory: Job to Be Done is often considered as a theory of customer’s choice. It’s more like a lens to make sense of human motivation, whether in personal or business life. Mostly, it is a common language that helps us communicate about our needs. I’ve written about it here last year on my first and only relationship advice column…

A note for you: In answering this, you are helping me know you better so that I can keep write stuff that makes your life more interesting. I think of you reading this as collaborators who help me shape my thinking. One day when I accidentally start a business from your suggestion and feedback, we will laugh & celebrate together. What if Virginia Woolf was right, that “Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money”? 😊

Anyway, here is the instruction: please fill in the blank

When I ____* I read E4T so that I ____**

*specific undesired, circumstance **desired situation

Here are some examples, including commentary.

— When I am bored checking my phone, I read EoT so that I get some good distraction.

  • It’s too vague, you can be anyone who has a phone.
  • A good JTBD statement should also definite the competitor for the job. For example, the competitors for this job is everything else in your inbox and life that demands your attention… which means E4T has little chance to win.

— When I wonder how this guy Khuyen is doing but don’t have the time to check-in, I read EoT so that I know more about what he has been up to and perhaps live vicariously through his exploration.

  • This is more specific, since you must be someone I know or interested in my thoughts enough to even wonder. Competitors are my social media, FB posts etc..
  • If I have only 2–3 people like this in my life I’d be so overjoyed… Isn’t that what we all dreaming about, people who care enough to want to listen to us? Some of you are peers around my age. Some of you are 0.8x, 1.5x, 2x or 3x older. Your perspectives, lived experiences and most importantly your readership have enriched me a lot. Thank you 😊

— When I am feeling random in the middle of a day, I read E4T so that I get some interesting stuff to think about. It’s like pressing a “random button” but from a more credible source.

  • Better, more refreshing take. Competitors are many other news source. In the age of information overload, it’s harder to win.

— When I am feeling uncertain about the future, I read EoT so that I regain some hope as this friend shares how he too is taking tentative steps in this uncertain world too.

  • This is too meta, but maybe true for some of you? I think competitors will be good short stories.

Obviously the list is not exhaustive. The Enzyme may play so many roles that it’s hard to pinpoint in one single statement. Try it though, it can be fun! Playful & wishful thinking is encouraged, such as:

— When I am in need of an instant advice, I read E4T so that I’ll find something relevant to my dilemma.

— When I am living perfectly ok but a bit boring, I read E4T so that I’ll get a random burst of weirdness.

— When I just want to hear something that will take me out of my self-obsession, I read EoT so that I am reminded that the world of the mind is infinitely more interesting that thoughts about insecurities.

Let’s craft the statement together — maybe the first collaborative thing on the Enzyme yet! Then I will compile a respond next week and maybe give out a prize on the most interesting and creative responses :-D

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