Law #7 – Action: The Winner’s Edge
The other day I came across this quote: “Believe and Act as if you cannot fail!” It struck me like a hard slap to the face. It made such a strong impression on me that I took out a black marker, wrote it on a big piece of paper and taped it to my wall right away! It’s attributed to Charles Kettering and the actual quote is “Believe and Act as if it were impossible to fail.” Even better, right?
I’ve been looking at it intently several times a day and even before I start my meditation. Today I realized there was only a part of it that stayed imprinted in my mind: “BELIEVE AND ACT”.
The BELIEVE part we touched on in my recent article about the power of imagination. This week we are focussing on the second part… the part all thought leaders, well, at least those I’ve read, agree is the strongest contributor to success, that is to ACT. Chapter 8 in T.J. Hoisington’s “If You Think You Can” starts with a most apt and eloquent quote by Albert E. N. Gray: “… successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people were not willing to do.” In other words, they acted on their ideas! They didn’t wait for an opportunity to present itself, nor did they wait for the perfect conditions to arise; they set the idea in motion with a decision to act on it. Then they found what they needed to make it happen, and they did that first.
Joi Ito very cleverly builds the argument for taking action first. In his paradigm shifting Ted Talk: “Want to innovate? Become a now-ist!” He mirrors what is in this book and on the lips of many thought leaders past and present, action requires only one thing, ACTION! Create in the moment and build on what you started. Learn from every step you take in the process, improve on what doesn’t work, and innovate on what does. Always move onward and upwards. Please don’t wait for someone else to give you permission or wait for a proof that it is a good idea. That proof will be given to the person who acted upon your idea, before you did. How many times have we heard the sentiment that we only have a limited number of opportunities in our lifetimes and we must act on them for any of them to happen? Just Do It!
Let’s all agree that imagination is awesome! It can ride us through many emotions, fill our minds with motivations and fears, and it can fade. Imagination not followed by action is only daydreaming. You need to act! I’m not suggesting you build a life size copy of the Burj Khalifa in your backyard, just because it looks cool in your mind’s eye, but big projects all start with little steps. Maybe start with building a cool deck in the backyard instead. Then add onto that. The point is, let big ideas be your goals, and your actions & experiments be the steps in getting there.
“If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan, but never the goal.” In this quote by an unknown author, we get the wisdom of failures. Watch Astro Teller’s Ted talk: The Unexpected benefit of celebrating Failure and you’ll really get the spirit of embracing failures as part of you plan of action. While you may not need to take The Moonshot factory’s approach of looking for every way to make your idea fail, and thus by elimination, be left with a guaranteed success; You can keep the mindset of not fearing failures. They are just indicators that you haven’t yet discover the best way to do something. However, even at Moonshot, nothing begins without the idea and the action to start in on the path to completion.
Today, what action will you commit to that will bring your ideas to life?
Wishing you all a Tremendous week!