Recently, I started taking note of all the great ideas I have had in the past 10 years that if I had taken time to execute, I would have been a billionaire by now. Do you ever catch yourself thinking like that? Like “I had the idea for Facebook before Mark Zuckerberg came up with it” , or I had the idea for that blog , that book, that business first, I just couldn’t implement it”.
We all have these thoughts. We berate ourselves over the things we talked about, planned and researched on but we never got around to truly doing. Why is that? I did a quick research and found some interesting thoughts on why most people are good at talking but very bad with implementing. But the world rarely pays the guy who had the idea, we only remember and pay the guy who did it.
Author Kevin J. Anderson wrote this on how Blog:
During the Olympics, the world watches great athletes from all nations perform seemingly impossible feats with breathtaking skill. When those well-toned men and women receive their medals, we admire them for their almost superhuman abilities. As we sit on the couch munching potato chips, most of us don’t kid ourselves that we could be just as talented, just as fast, just as strong . . . if only we had the time.
For some reason, though, many believe exactly that about writing books. I’ve had many people tell me, “Oh, writing is easy. Anybody can do it if they just sit down and put their minds to it.” Here’s how the conversation goes:
Somebody at a book-signing: “I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I could write a novel.”
Me: “Oh? Why haven’t you?”
Person: “I just don’t have the time.”
Me: “Hmm. Nobody gives me the time, either. I have to make the time, set priorities, discipline myself to get my writing done each day, no matter how tired I am. I worked a full-time regular job while I wrote my first novels, scraping out an hour here or there in evenings and weekends. That’s how I’ve become a successful author.”
Person: “Yeah, right. I think you’re just lucky.”
What Anderson writes about is one of the several excuses we give when we fail to get things done. We say we don’t have time, money, skill, talent, resources and all other things we can think of as an excuse why we never put in the work to get our ideas out there. Anderson’s entire blog post is amazing, you should check it out
Steven Pressfield has written a lot about the disease that afflicts creative people and stops them from doing their work. From living the life of a talker and becoming a doer. He calls it: The Resistance. Steven describes The Resistance
Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever resolved on a diet, an exercise regime, a meditation practice? Have you ever felt a call to embark upon a spiritual practice, dedicate yourself to a humanitarian calling, commit your life to the service of others? Have you ever wanted to be a mother, a doctor, an advocate for the weak and helpless; to run for office, crusade for the planet, campaign for world peace or to preserve the environment? Late at night have you experienced a vision of the person you might become, the work you could accomplish, the realized being you were meant to be?
Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what Resistance is.
If all these relate to you in a way, which I believe it does, then you must take this serious. You must declare war on The Resistance and make a promise to yourself to be a doer not just a talker. Not just someone with great ideas but someone who implements one idea well.
What do you imagine is the difference between doers and talkers? Here are some differences I see:
- People who get stuff done maintain a high commitment to themselves. They don’t want to let themselves down. The chief motivation to achieve comes from within, not external factors. It is very easy to not keep promises you make to yourself (“Gee, I think I’m going to stop smoking” or “Gee, I’m going to join the gym this month”).
- People who get stuff done strive for “good enough.” Good enough is a key principle in entrepreneurship. If your aim is “perfect,” the future is so far away it may be hard to get going. If I aim for the perfect article overtime, I will never be able to complete this newsletter or write my daily posts. Done is better than perfect.
- People who get stuff done think about the short term future – At the end of meetings, they ask, “So what are the next steps?” It’s easy to analyze the present or dream about the distant future, but actionable tasks over the next 2-4 weeks is most important for keeping the ball moving.
- People who get stuff done “dream” and “talk” as much as the next guy, but they share these dreams and ideas with others. By sharing your intentions with others, you introduce yet another accountability mechanism.
The action habit, in my opinion, is indeed a learned habit, not a permanent part of a “successful personality.”