We all have ideas.
But unfortunately, we also have excuses. If only X were different or if I only I had Y, I could bring my ideas to life and succeed.
Most of us know that ideas are nothing without execution. So, why don’t we act on our aspirations? Why do we put things off?
There are probably innumerable reasons why we aren’t attacking what we want, ranging from practical considerations such as financial or family obligations to poor habits such as procrastination and laziness. The specific reasons will vary depending on the individual.
However, I think for many of us it’s fear of failure.
This could lead us to overthink our next move, paralyzed with inertia. Eventually, we get consumed with the pressing issues of our everyday lives and then, in our spare time, we lose ourselves in distractions. Before you know it, another week, another month, another year has gone by and we have still not taken any steps closer to our dreams.
And our ideas remain just that.
Ideas and nothing more.
Perfectionism is a killer. Overanalyzing and overthinking is anathema to progress.
A great leader of the past century, Rav Menachem Mendel Schneerson, used to say: “Action is the main thing.”
One of my friends and mentors, Shlomo Zalman Bregman, is a definitely a do-er. When I started freelance content writing, he pointed out to me that I tend to get stuck in my own head. I was doing a lot of pondering, but my wanting things to be perfect was keeping me from getting more done than I could have been doing.
Over the past year, I have learned first-hand that everything the three people quoted above said about getting things done without waiting for things to in perfect alignment, is absolutely true.
Instead of anticipating a negative reaction or asking yourself “what-if” questions, just get it out there. Try things. Do things. If it doesn’t work, move onto something else. If you wait for things to be perfect or “just right” before you execute, you’ll never get anything done.
Furthermore, the execution itself or the act of getting something done will build your confidence. The momentum created from accomplishing one task can get you to attack the next project without second-guessing yourself.
Obviously, it’s important to think things through. I’m not suggesting recklessness. But, often it’s a tendency to overthink that is standing in many people’s way.
Maybe your next project, pitch, or attempt will fail miserably. Maybe people will laugh at you or criticize you.
Don’t dwell on it. Dust yourself off and move onto the next one.
As Seth Godin says, “the one who fails the most, wins.”
Virtually, all of the people we think of as winners or achievers have had failures. Sometimes, many failures. We may remember them for the hits or for their ideas that took off, but between all those victories were many defeats and attempts that bombed.
But, they didn’t let those set-backs get them down. They just kept at — creating, doing, and trying. Eventually, something worked and it put them on the map.
If all they did was ponder and strategize and worry about what others might think of them, they would never have made it.
So, don’t think so much.