You Need to be Willing to Change Your Practice and Approach: Test What May Be on the Other Side of the Boat

Even if you consider yourself an expert or a professional in a certain area, you sometimes need to be willing to try a different approach — to test for better results.

Testing and Experimenting in Your Life

In the book The Personal MBA, Josh Kaufman talks about testing.

Testing is the act of trying something new — a way of experimenting with your life to get better results.

(Kaufman has a list of 5 questions to ask yourself to make your testing structured.)

The Gospel Shows Jesus Encouraging the Disciples to Experiment for Better Results

In the Gospel, after the resurrection, the disciples try to catch fish, but they fail. 

When Jesus sees their effort and failure, he tells them to do it differently:

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in
because of the number of fish.

Even Professionals Should Experiment and Vary Their Practice to Get Better Results

As an expert pointed out to me:

Peter and the disciples were professional fishermen.

They knew how to catch fish. But they weren't succeeding.

That must have been frustrating.

In that frustration, some stranger on the shore (they did not yet "realize it was Jesus") tells them to put the net on the other side of the boat. 

We are not told about the disciple's immediate response:

  • Snorts of derision?
  • Resigned laughter?
  • Shrugs suggesting that they had nothing else to lose?

Whatever their immediate reaction, the disciples ultimately followed the stranger's recommendation.

And the outcome changed: They got a large haul of fish.

They recognized Jesus.

Lesson: It May Be Christ Himself Who is Asking Us to Test Our Practices to Get Better

Whatever else the Gospel story means, we are wise if we walk away from it realizing that we need to be willing to vary our normal practices and to change our routines and habitual approaches in life, even if we think we're experts in the things we do. 

It may be Christ himself who's prompting the change.