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Note 004: Is outsourcing part of human development?

Updated: Sep 11, 2018


For some reason, the word outsourcing brings a negative connotation to mind when we hear it, something that reflects someone losing a job because of a company deciding to outsource. However, outsourcing is a critical element of the human evolution. It is at the very core of how we've developed over the million years or so, by continually specializing and evolving. Without it, we would likely still all be hunter-gatherers.


In the early days of humanity, specialization did not exist, and everyone had to know all the skills required for survival. We were a lot more like the rest of the animals, resulting in slow human progress and a life that was much more limited. The discovery of food and food-producing processes was the very first human revolution, and that changed everything.


The agricultural revolution was when humans began to think a lot more and a lot faster about specialization and working on their core strengths. That moment started about 4,000 to 10,000 years ago, and home sapiens have been around for millions of years. So when you study the "human software," you will see that there are some dated lines of code that still tell us outsourcing is terrible and that we need to know everything.


This constant conflict of instinct is what makes us doubt if outsourcing a task instead of doing it yourself is a good idea. That is at the core of the decision: Should I outsource? Should I allow someone else to do what I've been doing so far, and I hate it, but I know how to do it? Should I control every step of the processes of my work, or should I allow someone else to help? These are all questions related to outsourcing.


Outsourcing creates fears in a couple of different areas, but I believe the biggest concern is one of our qualities. Before you outsource a task, you feel busy, and being busy makes you think that you're accomplishing something. If you outsource something that is taking away over 50% of your working hours, you may feel unproductive and lazy. However, the more profound fear comes from the unknown work that you will have to do, the tasks that you've been pushing to the side because you've been giving yourself a valid excuse: I am too busy now.


When you outsource the tasks that you're not passionate about or the tasks that are repetitive, and someone else can do them better than you through automation, you will undoubtedly feel both relieved and scared. Relieved because you won't have to do tedious work, and scared of the unknown territory you'll need to go into, which you know is something you must do to grow.


Human progress happens when we feel fear and step outside of our comfort, and if you feel fear and discomfort - get a glass of wine and congratulate yourself for the courage. The feeling you will get when you overcome these unknowns and fears, is the most incredible feeling.


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