Pippi’s Paradox

Tijmen Rümke
2 min readMar 19, 2021

That’s one powerful approach to life. To not be held back by doubts or insecurities before you’ve got proof for those.

“Others no smarter than me seem to be able to do it. Of course, I can too. So let’s!”

As Steven explained his thinking (in our conversation on De Gebakken Peren Podcast) when they started their company OnderwijsHelden.

While a powerful approach to get into action. The downside is of course that you underestimate the complexity of a situation.

You assume — before having dipped your toes in the water — it will stay as simple as it seems from the outside.

Sometimes this is true. But there are many areas where the only way to do something well is to have studied it or gained experience in it.

To always assume that as a beginner you will be able to do these is naive at best. Foolish at worst. Not to mention a tad disrespectful to those who have taken the time and effort to learn their skill.

So, it’s important to discern whether something you’re dealing with is a simple problem or a complex process.

But to have the expectation that you’ll always do well the first time has a bigger downside: It can be really disheartening to find out that isn’t true.

Steven needed to be reminded of this when they sold their company. He expected he could do this perfectly for everyone involved. But of course, he couldn’t. It was complex. And he had never done it before.

The first time you run into a situation where your enthusiasm, general smarts, and bravado can’t save you, you’ll be in shock.

A crisis of identity. If you don’t do things well, who are you? What is your worth?

I think Pippi was right though. With an addendum, or two. You should definitely be able to do it, with help. And I think you can do it, eventually, with practice.

In our conversation, Steven van den Tol and I spoke about the three phases of Onderwijshelden. How they started while knowing nothing. How it got serious and how he dealt with his aversion to hierarchy. And about the loyalty problems he had when the sold the company.

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Originally published at https://www.studiogeorge.nl on March 19, 2021.



Tijmen Rümke

Empowering creatives to gain clarity on purpose and get business savvy. Trainer and Podcast Host by day, know-it-all by night. www.studiogeorge.nl