What If You Just Did What You’re Supposed To?
I learned how to change my own oil last year. It was a pretty big moment for a guy that needs an assistant to heat up his lunch properly.
But rather than the prototypical father-son bonding exercise most of us would picture when imagining such learning experiences. My education took a different shape. I Youtube’d it. Just watched a video and learned how to do it in like five minutes. Then I watched the related videos and learned how to do a bunch of other stuff. The reason I’m telling you this story isn’t just because I like talking about my Master Mechanic’s education, but also to make a point about the ease by which we’re able to access information and transform that knowledge into action. The speed by which the modern man is capable of implementing new ideas is amazing at least, Matrix-esque at best. Gone are the days when acquiring a new skill was a pre-requisite to actually using it. The current era is all about taking the leap, and building the plane on the way down.
For entrepreneurs in the beginning phases of a new venture, this can be thrilling news. The ability to innovate, iterate and work efficiently while gathering knowledge and immediately taking action speeds up the feedback loop and has resulted in the most incredible product landscape the world has ever seen. But, as with any advancement, there are side effects to this kind of progress.
The fact is, as the barriers to entry are reduced, so are the favorite excuses we like to make about why we’re not able to accomplish our goals. Because even when we know what we’re doing, it takes a lot of hard work. We’re asked to sacrifice a lot in the name of personal achievement. Time that could be spent on the couch or in bed. So it makes life easier knowing that we don’t possess the necessary resources to realize our vision.
But what happens when we don’t have that excuse? What happens when the only thing we need to be successful in our endeavors is a bit of resourcefulness and the will to take massive action? This is the litmus test facing today’s entrepreneur. The barriers have been removed, the tools are readily available, all he has to do is take action.
Still, for some of us, taking action means staying busy with any and everything but what we need to be doing. We keep ourselves occupied with task-oriented nonsense in order to distract ourselves from the lingering idea that work is just hard and we don’t particularly care for the grind of it. And that’s certainly a relatable outlook, it just won’t get you very far. So instead, ask yourself this…what if you just did what you’re supposed to do?
I mean it. What if you just woke up tomorrow and did exactly what you knew you needed to do that day to move closer to your goal? Is it scheduling a meeting that’s way out of your comfort zone? Trying to raise capital for a project? Or simply getting yourself to the gym for a solid workout?
What if you did everything on your to-do list? No exceptions. How would that feel? Would it hurt? Would you find yourself riling in pain, regretting the fateful moment when you tried to accomplish something of value? Or would it feel good? Would it satisfy you? Prove that you have nothing to be scared of and leave you hungry for more?
The amount of excuses we’re reasonably allowed to make is in direct proportion to the amount of resources readily available to us. That ratio is quickly becoming distinctly lopsided. There are simply too many resources readily available to us to make excuses for not, at the very least, moving in the right direction each day. It’s a lack of sheer will that holds us back.
So make today the day. The day you take action. The day you leave it all out on the field. The day you throw away the excuses and embrace the fact that the only thing standing in your way, is you.
Take that massive action. You’re bound to wake up to a more fulfilling tomorrow.
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It’s a weird dynamic, this relationship we have with failure. We love stories about it. No one likes a movie where the main character succeeds unchecked. We like the struggle, the adversity. It inspires us, reminds us of what’s possible. But that’s when someone else is the subject. That’s when someone else is going through it. When it comes to our lives, every failure makes us question how much we really value the outcome. How much do we really want to succeed?
The fact is, just about everyone desires to be in better shape, to be healthier in some way, and knows, with at least some certainty, the steps they need to take to accomplish their goals. Lack of education isn’t why we fail. But it’s also not because we set our sights too high. Most of us just want to look good in the mirror, that’s a completely realistic goal. If anything, we give up because we know we can do it.
It’s fundamentally difficult, with so much distraction and opportunity, to find the time to get it all in every day. To truly be productive and not just busy. So, what’s the solution? How do we get back to a place where we’re not constantly being pulled in a million different directions? Where the day doesn’t waste away behind the steady flow of new and completely irrelevant stimulants being thrown at us non-stop? The answer is simple addition by subtraction.
It’s understandable, in a world increasingly full of distraction, that it takes a near herculean effort to put our best foot forward in that department, but that doesn’t make the threat of wasted time any less real.
And while the battle for time efficiency may never cease entirely, there are plenty of safeguards we can implement to systematize our efforts.
Here are a few simple, practical ways to up your productivity and stave off waste.
It’s 3 A.M. and you’re doing that thing where you look at the clock and think about how many hours of sleep you’ll get if