There’s a balance between selling an idea, and allowing the learner to choose for themself.
Being opinionated and making a strong argument – the message is likely to spread further, but also likely to build a religious following. On the plus side, it often takes this kind of counter-balance if your learners already have strong beliefs that block them from progress.
The Basecamp guys are good at this, with headline commands like Go To Sleep.
Of course, things aren’t usually so black-and-white. Once the basic premise and principles are settled, the answer to most questions is, it depends. This is where the If-Then shines.
This guide is a great example, simply listing each channel and its strengths. Then pointing out that success in any of them comes from regular execution, so only pick a few.
At Source, we say: You can’t teach The How if you haven’t explained the The Why. And you can’t do The How, unless you know The When.
The If-Then is the step from novice mimickry, to independent decision-making. This is where the shift towards mastery takes place.
Dave Gray (who I will continue learning from forever) puts this altogether in Visual Thinking School, covering the spectrum in 3 short, powerful videos:
- Why is Visual Thinking important? The Why
- But can I do this? The How
- Visual Thinking basics
- How to know what to draw The When. The If-Then.
Don’t mistake The How for the full picture
Most education programmes focus on The How. Some include The Why. Very few cover The When. This is a big reason why so many fail. By design, they’re treating education like a one-way funnel for how-to knowledge, rather than focusing on broader understanding, and designing to allow pathways towards mastery and independence.