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The irony of obsessing over what works…

… is that it usually leads to the very opposite of actual work.

People who wait on guarantees rarely ever get started. People who act on their interests, even when they act imperfectly or unsuccessfully, end up doing things that result in a greater sense of confidence and creativity.

Moving in the direction of what moves you is much more productive than agonizing over what will work.

Paradoxically, it works better too.

“Screw it, just get on and do it.”

Just-Do-It-Now“As everyone around him was filling the air with business buzzwords and talking about complex ideas for mapping out our future, Branson was saying things like: ‘Screw it, just get on and do it.'” -James Clear, Successful People Start Before They Feel Ready

Entrepreneur, weightlifter, and travel photographer, James Clear, recently wrote an inspiring blog post on Richard Branson, the founder and chairman of Virgin Group, about the importance of taking action before you feel ready. I strongly recommend you read his post here.

Here are some of my favorite highlights with my own thoughts to follow:

Branson doesn’t merely say things like, “Screw it, just get on and do it.” He actually lives his life that way. He drops out of school and starts a business. He signs the Sex Pistols to his record label when everyone else says they are too controversial. He charters a plane when he doesn’t have the money.

When everyone else balks or comes up with a good reason for why the time isn’t right, Branson gets started.

If you want to summarize the habits of successful people into one phrase, it’s this: successful people start before they feel ready.

If you’re working on something important, then you’ll never feel ready. A side effect of doing challenging work is that you’re pulled by excitement and pushed by confusion at the same time.

You’re bound to feel uncertain, unprepared, and unqualified. But let me assure you of this: what you have right now is enough. You can plan, delay, and revise all you want, but trust me, what you have now is enough to start. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to start a business, lose weight, write a book, or achieve any number of goals… who you are, what you have, and what you know right now is good enough to get going.

We all start in the same place: no money, no resources, no contacts, no experience. The difference is that some people — the winners — choose to start anyway.

I think the point Clear is trying to make here is that “readiness” is an illusion whether you emotionally feel like you’re ready or not.

In any craft or line of work, there are unpredictable factors and forces that one cannot anticipate, or prepare for, through research, training, analysis, and planning.

There are certain lessons necessary for success that don’t begin until you 1) engage the world through action and 2) receive feedback from the world in direct response to the actions you’ve taken.

Readiness is not an emotion. It’s not something you should strive to feel as a prerequisite for taking creative risks.

No matter how you feel, you’re not ready for something until you do it.

A friend of mine recently shared the following Arthur Ashe quote with me:

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

One could easily retort by saying “That all sounds great, but starting things before you’re ready wont necessarily yield success.”

This objection would be a moot point, however, because that same observation is also true of any piece of advice one could possibly give about any subject.

The insight to be gleaned here is not that starting is some sort of insurance against failure, but that moving forward before you have answers to all your questions is a part of what it means to prepare.

There are plenty of unsuccessful people who started before they felt ready, but there are no successful people who felt fully prepared before they actually started doing the work.

Zig Ziglar said it best:

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

A recipe for unfulfilled dreams

Wait until you get discovered.

Stand pat until someone presents you with an opportunity.

Sit on the fence until ideal conditions manifest.

Warm up in the bullpen until you’re summoned.

Put your plans in neutral until financial resources come pouring in.

Don’t poke and prod; react and respond.

Always ask for permission.

Make sure you feel “worthy” before engaging in new activities.

Get answers to all of your questions prior to any creative risk-taking.

The Law of Attraction ends with “action”

“When we make a beginning, we get out of our own way and allow the angels to come in and do their job.” – Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

There are discoveries we make and treasures we gain from being actively involved in the creative process that we simply can’t get by sorting things out inside of our heads.

There’s a magic that is unique to action.

When we set things in motion, we disrupt the patterns of inertia in our lives and we create ripple effects which give rise to new options and opportunities.

The power of the undivided self

We create our own reality, but “we” refers to our multidimensional selves.

We are not brains in a vat and a purely mental life will never satisfy us. We are psychosomatic entities who were created to experience life with our hearts, minds, and our bodies.

It is when we engage the world with our complete and undivided self that we realize our full creative potential.

In the absence of resistance, action is natural

Physical action is not opposed to faith in the creative power of thought.

Physical action is what we naturally do when we release limiting, disempowering, and resistant beliefs about what’s going to happen to us when we dare to grab life by the jugular.

When we know that our activity is supported by the Universe, we no longer suppress our natural tendency to take action on our dreams.

Play like a pro

The amateur attempts to figure out all the answers before he acts. The professional begins with the knowledge that answers are invented and improvised along the way by those who create their own path.

The amateur looks for guarantees before he acts. The professional moves forward with confidence that the Universe will expand in order to accommodate the faith he expresses in his vision.

We are professionals in this game of life. There’s no need for us to play with timidity.

Take a shot at your dreams. It’s time to step out there and be the champion that you know you are.

I’m rooting for you.


T.K. Coleman

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