Fuck your gonna
– Gary Vaynerchuk
That was the closing statement of one of Gary’s videos I watched the other day.
I really hate to reference the same person twice in a row on these blogs. But Gary is dope af, and at this point, I am writing these just before I post them, so they are more snap shots of my mind at the time of writing as opposed to pre-determined topics which I do sometimes. For the first time in weeks, I’m organically inspired to write.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about action. And last week, a few things happened to reinforce those thoughts as something to explore further. One of the things was watching the abovementioned video. Then there was a statement Thuli made during our Monday huddles with CREA8, something along the lines of ‘you have learnt enough and talked enough, it’s time to do’. Then one of the many mails I get from Tai Lopez was on the danger of self-improvement as a placebo for action.
Self-help is a huge billion-dollar industry. And these days, it seems a new self-proclaimed guru pops up every 24 hours. There is always a new course, a new book, a new mastermind, a new Instagram account, a new magic bullet.
Once you get hit with your first taste, the book that changes your perspective, the speaker that fills you with the powerful hope that you can indeed do anything you put your mind to, it is easy to become an insight junkie, forever searching for the next idea, the next revelation or epiphany. The one that will change everything and transform you radically.
The dopamine hit we get from learning new ideas can get us addicted in non-productive ways.
Learning is crucial, and sometimes it does takes one moment, one insight to kick your ass into gear and truly change everything. It can be the glowing embers that light your life ablaze. But it is also easy and dangerous to get lost in the vast vortex of self-improvement and mistake insight for change.
Don’t equate the belief that you can take action with actually taking action
Knowledge is potential power. Action makes it real.
Learning is easy, it makes us feel like we are doing something. Doing is hard. It isn’t sexy. It takes relentless commitment and hard work. It takes sacrifice. It means killing your old self and letting the new emerge.
Self improvement is masturbation. Now self destruction…
– Tyler Durden (Fight Club)
Before this week, I have been pondering and occasionally lamenting to whoever would listen that I seemed to have lost interest in reading for a while now, maybe for about 2 months. Which is weird to go through for me, but also not too unexpected as I am the type to cycle between extremes.
So, I haven’t really read books in a while. I was busy working my way through Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life, and Josh Kaufman’s The Personal MBA, and I just stopped cold. Sure, I got quite busy and consumed with finishing off client projects, and then I burned out and then had to rest and spend the recent two weeks finding my way back. So that’s probably the real reason.
But I’ve also mentioned on this blog, now and again, the general feeling of being over reading, and listening and absorbing and studying. I’m tired of learning, now I just want to do.
And that is what your study must birth, a desire and a bias towards action. Too many times, our learning just stays learning. But as faith without works is dead, so is education without action.
You just have to do. You have to taste the berries, as Gary would say. You won’t know what they really taste like by reading about it, listening to podcasts about it, watching YouTube videos about berries, what they taste like and how to taste them. It is fine to learn, but at some point, you just will have to pop the berries in your mouth and sink your teeth into them.
It is only then you will know the burst of flavour, the ensuring sweetness, the crunch of the seeds between your teeth, and the awkward but necessary task of spitting them out. The description of the experience, no matter how profound and detailed can never compare to the actual experience.
And that is what we must do. We have to do.
But where to start, you ask? Start from anywhere.
How to start? Start by doing it badly.
Even when you fail, and you will fail. Start again. Start as many times as you need to.
Each action teaches you in you a way you could never learn from books. It is visceral, it changes you physically, it seeps into your bones. It gets wired into your brain. Learning expands your awareness, but it is action that transforms you.
Sure books can guide you, but your heart defines you.
– Jay Z (Beach Chair) Kingdom Come
Sure, the books are important. Learn all you can. It shows you what is possible. It cuts your learning curve and can help you avoid some mistakes. There is no need to re-invent the wheel unnecessarily. It is important to learn from the people who have gone the way before you. It is key to stand on the shoulder of giants and leverage the experiences of your predecessors.
But don’t let preparation become procrastination. There is a time for everything under the sun, you must embrace the time for action too. Even with your heart pounding in your chest, the sound of blood rushing against your eardrums and the butterflies in your stomach, you must move forward, run across the board and jump…
You must do.
And you will do.
For a while, you will take action, and you will get punched in the mouth. Some of your plans will go off brilliantly. Others will fail miserably. Most of it will be met with deafening indifferent silence. But you will do. And that ‘doing’ will teach you even more. You will confirm some theories and be forced to relinquish others. You will learn even more about yourself.
And after all that doing, you will take some time to rest. You will pull back to evaluate. You will have changed; your mind will have changed. You will tweak your strategy a bit, you will go back to studying to learn even more, to go even deeper. You will have new questions, new challenges. You will need more wisdom, maybe some unlearning and re-learning. And then you will rise up again and re-enter the arena. You will take another crack at it.
And so, it would go, learning and practice, education and action. Sometimes concurrently, sometimes one after the other in a continual cycle, each giving rise to and feeding the other.
Until you get what you want.