What’s the difference between thinking and doing? Where is the value add?
We all have had moments where you say “That’s a great idea!” You might write it down, play with it for a while, but without any execution, the idea is just a passing thought. For example, I might intend to go to the gym, it’s a great idea, but if I don’t get myself dressed appropriately and drive on down there, my thought and intentions, all good, are nothing but air.
In New Media, things change, fast. Many people go around and secure their intellectual property by buying domain names, with the intent to use them, or to keep others from using them, but until they have the bandwidth to execute, they are simply hoarding. I’ve done this. I will still do this, since no matter what you think now,”good” domains will be snapped up by others with the same Good idea if you wait too long. Good ideas are competitive on the internet. In this grand marketplace of ideas, there is a “time is of the essence” mentality.
This is the middle ground of thinking and doing. You had an idea good enough to warrant a small financial investment- (remember to use all those great GoDaddy codes, like IOYH3 or Hash3). What’s next?
There are plenty of good and great ideas out there. But in the end, the universe rewards action. Making things happen. Making the rubber meet the road. Caring enough to take the risk and the chance in the real world. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak didn’t stop at wondering what a home personal computer would be like, they built one. Everything we see and interact with, from lightbulbs to software is an homage to people who didn’t wait for something to be delievered to them, they went and made it happen. It’s all in the execution- good, bad or indifferent- the execution moves the equation ahead to the next step.
So thought and sharing of ideas is largely philosophy; when those ideas turn into actions- writing, doing, implementing- then they become more than fluff- they become real.
What Gets in the Way of Action
My podcast is all about learning and learning disabilities. One of the biggest things for kids with LD are the tasks that form road blocks or hurdles for them every day, causing frustration at every turn We want to help parents find ways to make those hurdles smaller and more managible for kids. All the topics like motivation and strategies apply equally to kids without LD and to adults, so while these short cuts are mission critical to kids facing problems like ADHD or dyslexia, they are equally useful to everyone else, as well.
For most adults, lack of action can be divided into a couple of categories:
1. Priority. If a task isn’t #1 priority, it won’t get done. The further down your list of “intend to someday” something goes, the less likely it will ever happen.
2. Lack of resources. This can be a lack of financial capital, lack of skills, lack of knowledge- but if you don’t have the resources you need, you can’t execute. The way around this is either to make a detailed plan on how to acquire the resources, or outsource and find people who can help you execute.
3. Bandwidth. This is a sister concept of # 1 and #2. If you don’t know how much you can reasonably accomplish, if you cannot self-monitor and know when you no longer have the time or energy to execute, you will constantly over promise and under-deliver. Perfect example: I have several half-finished knitting projects, and yarn coming out of the closets. I love it, and every skein was bought with the best of intentions. However, at the moment, and probably for the next six months, I am publically acknowledging I will not finish the sweater. And that’s okay. And this leads to #4…
4. Acknowledgement of Strengths and Weaknesses. If you keep trying to do something but aren’t making it a priority, devoting time and attention resources to it, you can keep telling yourself you’ll finish the book, revamp the website, or whatever it is. but it will never get done unless you change something else to make it happen. This said, you will feel much better about yourself when you acknowledge to yourself and others it isn’t gonna happen. You give up guilt, and in return, to stop wasting the time and energy of people who were waiting for you to execute your part of a bigger project. Let them move on-don’t hold other people up because you are too afraid of saying “I can’t right now” or I won’t”. Subset of this rule- be a mensch and tell yourself the truth.
So in closing, I always have 2 choices. I can sit around and wait for something to happen, or I can get on email, on the phone and help make something happen. Making things happen feels so much better that just complaining. Doing feels great and active, while waiting is dreadful, boring and frustrating.
Since last year’s New Year’s Resolution of letting go of fear worked out pretty well, maybe this year’s will be to look at situations that are frustrating for me, and find work arounds. Taking action. Taking responsibility and make it happen. If not, you’ll find me sitting around a coffee bar grousing, and frankly, I wouldn’t talk to me, either, if that’s the case.
PS. Socrates sat around and talked about ideas but ended up dying by drnking hemlock; Plato wrote it all down and is the true father of Philosophy.