1. Action is Cheaper Than Planning
Do you know why the Wright Bros. beat out all the mega-corporations they were competing with in the race to taking the first flight? Action. Robert Greene explains in Mastery that the Wright Bros. had a tight budget and were forced to make small, cheap tweaks to each model. They would fly a plane, crash it, tweak it, and fly it again quickly. The corporations had budgets that allowed them to go back to the drawing board (i.e. abstraction) with each failure. They spent a ton of money and time on each redesign. The Wright Bros. had a hundred test flights in the time it took these big corporations to complete a handful. Every test flight taught lessons – the one who failed fastest gathered the most information. This applies to everything. Especially your life. Planning can paralyze you. That paralysis can lead to depression. Now do the opposite. Don’t over plan. Take action.
2. Action Allows Emergence
Taking action creates possibilities that didn’t exist before.
We always look out at our future from the place we’re standing. Yet we forget that this is only one spot.
Imagine walking in New York City. All you can see are skyscrapers, neurotic humans, and taxis. You turn down the next street and you’re looking out into the trees of Central Park. A completely new possibility has emerged. If you’re obese then you probably don’t see a possible future where you’re fit. But, after three months of working out and eating well there will be a possible future of physical fitness that didn’t exist before. These possibilities seem to “come out of nowhere” but they in fact come out of action. If you’ve only failed, then it’s impossible to see the possibility of success. The trick is to keep trying. That next step might be the key to a better future — you just can’t see around the corner yet.
3. Motivation Follows Action
Motivation (and passion) will follow. The longest journey begins with the first step. Take the step! Don’t worry about “getting pumped up” to take the first step! “Just do it!” is the Nike slogan, and it’s been successful for a reason.
4. Action Creates Courage
“Courage is not something that you already have that makes you brave when the tough times start. Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times and you discover they aren’t so tough after all.” -Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath. Forcing ourselves into a corner made us bolder than we thought we could be. Even fake courage can become real. What I mean is that it is ok to have self-doubt, but when you act, you suddenly learn that you can do more than you THOUGHT you could DO. It is in the doing!
5. Action Beats the Odds
“Spartans do not ask how many are the enemy but where are they.” – Plutarch, Sayings of the Spartans
More information rarely helps unless you are ready to act on it. The perfect plan doesn’t exist.
The great Warren Buffett biography, "The Snowball," shows that Buffett had no grand plan when he was younger. He just knew that he wanted to make a lot of money. There was no early master plan, just a powerful urge and the willingness to take opportunities as they came. The uber-successful venture capitalist Ben Horrowitz says in his new book The Hard Things About Hard Things that: “Startup CEOs should not play the odds. When you are building a company, you must believe there is an answer and you cannot pay attention to your odds of finding it. You just have to find it. It matters not whether your chances are nine in ten or one in a thousand; your task is the same.” This applies to YOUR business. You will succeed when you succeed. It will not happen to you. YOU MUST MAKE IT HAPPEN!
My name is Jeff Bell, and I am just getting started
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