In Praise of Doing
I used to excuse my lack of doing with the comfort that I wanted to do something. Passionate sincere wanting without performance is, however, cheap, easy, and self-deluding.
Wanting to do something doesn’t mean much. I’d rather want less and do more.
Talking enhances the delusion of doing. When talking, if I’m not careful, I believe I’ve done something. Nothing could be further from the truth. Talking isn’t doing.
Perfecting things before doing them, in addition, is overrated. It’s better to perfect things while you do them. Most activities don’t require perfection. In the end, it’s the doing that matters.
When I do more and talk less, I want less too. Doing quiets empty wanting.
Jettison empty dreams of making a difference. Toss out cheap self-delusions and go perform an imperfect act of service. Lift someone. Find a small way to put your dream into action.
Do something; stand on it and do something again. What you do makes a difference not what you want to do.
What stands in the way of your doing?
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You know, Dan, one very basic thing that stands in the way of any of us doing something we purportedly want to do is – how much we seriously want to do it.
This has most certainly been the case for me as I have planned my and my daughter’s July mission trip to Guatemala, where we will meet a child our extended family has sponsored for 10 years. From the moment a little slip of paper fell out of a letter from her that alluded to the fact that sponsors could meet their children, to the moment I clicked “purchase” a few weeks ago on our two airline tickets, I have become aware in a hundred different ways of how much you have to want something. Scott Ginsberg advised me two years ago to write down my goals and “carry them with me” (the top 3 goals). If that slip of paper hadn’t bee physically with me, prodding me to keep the goal concrete in my mind and heart through a bunch of adversity including my spouse’s job loss, there is no way I would be 34 days away from realizing it.
It’s a yoda-ism (and I may have mangled it), but it really is true: there is no “try,” only do.”
I love these thoughts, Dan, thank you. I know someone who is forever thinking about something and I’m still waiting for the ‘doing’ part. He says you have to make sure your ladder is up against the right wall before you start painting, otherwise you may end up painting the wrong wall. I say fair enough, but how long do you have to consider which wall to paint? Good leaders make a decision and stick with it, even if it turns out to be a mistake. Besides, it might turn out that the wall you painted looks better than you thought..
There’s Dan’s mirror again, yep, most all of the time I stand in the way of doing…once in a while it is a systemic thing, however, the system is made up of a collections of “I”s.
Hey all, for the last month or so, I have been ‘doing’ a tracking calendar called iDoneThis Today, web link is email@example.com. It is a daily cue to track in a few word what you have done for the day. Still trying it out, takes all of 30 seconds at the end of the day.
Simply stated, “Action is the New Competence” (quoting myself & Victor Constien). Well written and essential reality check, Dan! Thank you!
I must agree with the perfection aspect of doing. Perfection isn’t required for something to be good enough, BUT you must make sure it is good enough before you put it into place.
Ouch! This was convicting for me. And yet encouraging too. Thanks.
(Sigh)…perpetual perfectionist over here. Trying to make myself do ONE thing every day that brings me closer to where I need to be. Just ONE. I get over-excited if I get TWO things done. You get my drift. I have to start somewhere…..
I was talking about hedgehogs and foxes with a coaching client just an hour ago! This is totally a hedgehog post. I’m going to have to send it to my client. Thanks.
A definite keeper: “When I do more and talk less, I want less too. Doing quiets empty wanting.”
I hope I am as I think I am, a totally recovered perfectionist.
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