I learned a very important lesson this summer. That lesson is the importance of action and implementation. First let me air a confession. I have spent the past 2 years believing this one statement to be true to my core: We were made to create and not to consume. I’ve been saying it, but I haven’t been living it. It’s not like I haven’t made things. I have! I’ve been making lots of cool things that I am crazy excited about. But the thing that I’ve learned is that when the scale is tipped too far into the consumption side, then action suffers. Next steps are halted by a constant flood of new ideas fighting for my attention. That’s the nature of creativity. Consuming a lot of new content breeds new and interesting thoughts and ideas that seem fun. So I chase them. It’s like being a dog in a park full of idea squirrels.
The solution: Stop going to the park…. For now.
Having a ton of ideas is great, but we have to decide which path to take. That’s part of this whole thing. To choose what you’re going to pursue by picking things that align with the problem you want to solve and taking small actions and steps toward making them real.
I just started reading the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown which is all about doing the right things and the disciplined pursuit of less. Early in the book, McKeown uses this graphic to demonstrate the difference between how essentialists and non-essentialists use their energy:
I don’t think I can add anything to that to make it more perfect. That is exactly how I feel.
There is a time for consuming. There is a time for learning and taking in as much as you possibly can. And there is also a time for action, next steps, and implementation. Without moving and acting on things, you will end up with a head full of jumbled ideas and nothing to show for all that hard work and education. So I am leaving the consumption phase (for now) and moving in to a season of implementation and action. I’m in the action phase.
Here’s the bottom line: This cycle that I’m in of consume, consume, consume, half-ass something, consume… It’s not working. I mean of course it’s not. So, if something’s not working, you adjust your approach. You adapt. That’s what we do. So that’s what I’m doing.
This most recent episode of The Work Podcast is all about this topic. You can listen to this episode and older episodes here:
We don’t have to be stuck. We have the ability to change, adapt, and grow. That’s one of the reasons why we started this crazy journey in the first place; for freedom and for the thrill of the making new things. Don’t let good things get in the way of awesome things.
Here’s to making awesome stuff!