action

Doing What I Know

When I was a kid, I used to really enjoy watching the GI Joe cartoon. If you remember back to 1983 or so you know they always ended each episode with some sort of lesson and would say, “Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.”

Knowing is important. Ignorance doesn’t solve too many problems. But, knowing is not just half the battle, it is ONLY half the battle. Knowing isn’t enough.

Derek Sivers summed it up as, “If more information were the answer, we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.” Similarly, Tony Robbins once said, “Most people know what to do, but few do what they know.”

Knowledge is important, but it’s just the start.

Ever go to a conference or seminar? Attend a webinar or read up on a topic? Ever pay for advice from a doctor, physical therapist, or personal trainer? Of course you have. The more important question is: how much of that knowledge have you actually put into action? How much focused effort did you spend following the instructions, executing the plan, or taking action before moving on to the next conference, book, expert, etc.?

The past three months or so I’ve been on an intense learning curve. I’ve paid for knowledge, expertise, and advice through conferences, trainings, consultations, and books, but have only sort of done what was advised. Sure, I started with best of intentions, but that quickly faded against established habits and routines, as well as the unanticipated and unexpected steering me off track.

Yesterday, the question hit me: what if I went all in on this advice? What if I wrung every last bit of goodness out of each dollar paid and instruction given?

Where could I be in my life if I simply did what I know?

Where could you be?

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You Already Have the Answers

“Seminar Junkies” is a term used to describe people who go from one seminar to the next, always seeking better ideas, BUT rarely using what they’ve learned. Because they never use the knowledge, their lives don’t change, so it’s off to the next seminar, searching for that life changing nugget of information. If it’s not seminars, it’s books, or websites. The addiction is to seeking information instead of taking action.

This is important. The best ideas in the world are absolutely worthless, until the moment we put them into action.

More information is rarely the problem. The real challenge is applying the information we already have. Tony Robbins once said, “Lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know.”

Where are you waiting for more information before you take action? Where are you not taking the action you know you need to take? OR where are you already taking action, but need to dial up the amount of effort or just get more consistent?

Information is important, but it just gets you in the game. Knowledge doesn’t create results. Action does.

i don’t want to be perfect

Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame says it best: “I don’t want to be perfect, I just want to be badass.” Love it.

Perfection is a trap. Perfection prevents doing. Perfection removes the human uniqueness that makes things memorable, wonderful, and worth seeking out. Perfection, ironically, makes things unremarkable.

Badass brings the noise, static, and rough edges. It turns the humanity up rather than muting it away. It’s excellence enhanced by the individual thumbprint. When we do perfect, it all looks the same. Badass allows my excellence and your excellence to look completely different and both be desirable and worthy. Where perfection slows, badass accelerates; where perfection is a shield to hide behind, badass thrusts us forward into the fray; where perfection is an excuse, badass is a catalyst.

Steve Jobs famously said: “Real artists ship.” Imperfect action beats perfect inaction. I can stall out over perfection or I can deliver my own unique excellence.

It’s a tougher choice than it sounds.

What thinks you?

flashback friday: quick thought on perfection

Imperfect action will beat perfect inaction any day of the week. It’s easy to get caught up in planning every detail perfectly and not moving forward until everything is meticulously thought through. And if you fall for that trap, you’ll get crushed by someone who was able to immediately execute a pretty good plan.

[this was originally posted on June 16, 2011]