not engaging; not working; inoperative
This is the word I would use to define the last few years of my life. Not because I have been laying on the couch doing nothing (although, I have spent a significant chunk of time doing that), but because in this time I have neglected my craft, my passions, the things that bring and “give” me life.
It is also the word that describes this blog.
In November 2015, when I was last fully active, I had a number of ideas that I wanted to put forward. However, for a number of reasons which I won’t go into today, I never even got started writing them. And by not getting started, not acting, I killed those ideas.
And that’s what a bias for action is about. Making a start. Action.
There are 5 main reasons a person will not start a thing that they desperately need to do
Perfectionism: We often put off starting the thing we need to do because we want it to be perfect. The problem with this line of thinking is that it will never be perfect if it doesn’t exist. Let me say that again. You can’t perfect something that doesn’t exist. Every successful perfectionist I know started with something imperfect and tweaked and prodded, chiseling away at imperfections and, over time, it came closer and closer to their perfect vision. They will still always tell you it can be better though. Act.
Time: “It’s just not the right time” we tell ourselves. Or “I just don’t have time right now”. Here’s the thing; it’s never going to be the right time, but it is always the right time and you will never have more time than you have now. 24 hours a day, 168 a week. That’s it. That’s all we get, every day, every week for the rest of our lives.
“I don’t have time” had been a favorite response of mine for years until I met a man who had more family and business commitments than I did and was multiples more productive than I was in various areas. I asked him how he found the time to do everything he did and still get adequate sleep and his answer was simple: “I always have time. I never feel like I don’t have time to do the things I want to do if I focus on one thing at a time”. He taught me to replace the phrase “I don’t have time” with “I have plenty of time. I just don’t want to do that” More on this in another post. Act
Pro tip: List everything you need to do but don’t have time for over the next 7 days on a sheet of paper, and then write down how you spent the last two days (hour by hour) on another sheet
Someone is already doing it: In a world where Apple can co-exist with Microsoft, and more recently Samsung. In a world where an already functional and fairly dominant iPhone did not stop Google from developing Android. In a world where BMWs and Audi’s pass each other in the street, it is important to remember that no one is doing what you want to do how you want to do it. There is a multitude of people in the world that are waiting for the very specific thing that you have to offer. Act
I’m not ready: There is a 7 year old making multiple millions on YouTube. You were born ready. Act now
Fear of failure: When you peel back all of the other reasons we don’t do the things we desperately want to do we inevitably come to this one. We are afraid to fail. We are afraid to set out, fall flat on our faces and be subsequently ridiculed. But failure is integral to success. Every true success is the product of many, many failures. Every time you get up from falling, you will have learned a new way not to fall. And if you focus on the goal rather than the fear of falling again, you will everyday pull closer to the thing you want to do and the person you want to be. But you have to act.
Whether you feel ready, or not, you will never make any progress unless you start. We’re all familiar with the old saying “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a step”, but an interesting point that gets overlooked is that this doesn’t account for whether you’re wearing the right shoes… because it doesn’t matter. And ultimately, you will never find out if you’re wearing the right shoes if you don’t get walking.
So to save this becoming a ramble, the point is this: Start where you are; start now, make your mistakes and tweak along the way and just like this post, you may or may not get to the place you intended but you will have made progress from where you were.
These guys said it better: The 5 Second Rule -Mel Robbins, The 5AM Club - Robin Sharma, Atomic Habits - James Clear, The One thing - Gary Keller