“When you first start to study a field, it seems like you have to memorize a zillion things. You don’t. What you need is to identify the core principles – generally three to twelve of them – that govern the filed. The million things you thought you have to memorize are simple various combinations of the core principles.” – John T. Reed, Author of Succeeding
One of my favorite quotes that I carry over through my career is from Waldo Emerson:
“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”
For me, the principle outlined in the above quotes, worked very well through my career so far – both for technical disciplines and “soft” disciplines, and especially useful when in the need to quickly ramp up and hit the ground running with a new job or new assignment. And it’s a vital skill – quickly grasping key principles – for consultant, the field warrior who is on a new assignment on a daily basis.