“Why did you call your book Just Start,” was probably the most asked question during our recent book tour.
Invariably, we answered with a joke. (“Because Nike had already taken ‘Just do it.’”)
But the more serious answer is what tapped in a vein of worry in our last blog.
In a world that seems to grow more uncertain by the day—two years ago would anyone said with a straight face that economic woes in Greece would set the world financial markets teetering; 10 years ago would anyone have said land (telephone) lines would be an endangered species—doing extensive planning based on historical precedents just doesn’t make a lot of sense.
When you are living through an era where entire industries are disappearing seemingly overnight—when was the last time you used a pay phone to call your local movie video rental store and used a paper map to figure out how to get there?—long, slow deliberate processes are a really bad idea.
So is assuming that the future is going to be just like the past. (People are always going to drop off their vacation photos and have they processed; people with kids will, of course, buy a set of encyclopedias.)
If you are facing an uncertain future: “Will anyone buy the product or service I am thinking of developing”; “it looks my entire industry is being transformed out of existence”; thinking too much doesn’t help you.
You need to act.
Specifically after you have a handle on what you think you want then you need to:
1. Take a Smart Step toward that desire as quickly as you can i.e. act with the means at hand; don’t spend more (in money, time and other resources) than you can afford to and bring others along with you if it makes sense.
2. Make reality your friend. Accept what is and build off what you find.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you accomplish your goal or until you decide it is not possible or you decide you rather do something else.
But you have to act.
Sitting there thinking will only produce thoughts—thoughts which might or might not be true.
And while you are doing all that thinking, the world will be changing—perhaps radically. (Does any still think of a job with the U.S. Postal Service is a safe one).
Stop thinking and start doing.