Book summary of “Stop Talking, Start Doing”: Everything we want to accomplish in life, whether it is starting a business, taking a trip, losing weight or learning to play a musical instrument, requires starting somewhere: it is about understanding that the fears we have are natural, then daring to face them, simply through action, because the simple act of doing, regardless of how, is often enough to make a difference.
By Shaa Wasmund and Richard Newton, 2011, 176 pages,
Review and Summary of Stop Talking, Start Doing :
If you prefer video over text, I have prepared an illustrative video review of the book Stop Talking, Start Doing🙂:
I came across the book Stop Talking, Start Doing after reading author Shaa Wasmund’s previous book, “Do Less, Get More,” as a follower of the Pareto principle. “Stop Talking, Start Doing” is a follow-up and an effective guide that helps us take action in the projects we have, regardless of the nature and size of the project. Stop Talking, Start Doing is a book that alternates text passages and eye-catching visuals in order to better capture the ideas that are explained.
The two authors begin Stop Talking, Start Doing by explaining to us that this book was supposed to be something entirely different, but that as soon as they started writing, the book took shape over time to ultimately come to this final result, which is much better than the original idea that the authors had of it. They then give the general idea of Stop Talking, Start Doing by letting us know that life is such: many beautiful things only happen if we dare to jump in and take action.
Originally, the book was to be targeted at people wanting to start a business and who were looking for a helping hand to get them started. In fact, the momentum required to get started in building a business is the same as that is required to undertake any project. As a result, Stop Talking, Start Doing is not just written for people wanting to get started in entrepreneurship but for all those who have the entrepreneurial spirit.
Part 1: Tick Tock (the Sound of the Clock)
Life is shorter than you realize. Time flies as we work on what isn’t really important at the expense of what really is. During this time, we drift, we get lost, we doubt, and we take ourselves too seriously while we keep talking about what we want, can and should do to make our life better. Then, everything comes to an end, just like that.
So, there’s no better time to start doing the things you really want to do. Here are four reasons why you should start:
Reason # 1: You can.
The connected world we live in today makes it possible to realize dreams, ideas, and initiatives in proportions that our ancestors could not even have imagined. Everything you want to know is instantly accessible. If you need an expert to help you, just connect with the right people who can help. You can be part of what Seth Godin calls a “tribe”, referring to people who share a common passion. By connecting with these types of people, you can share your passions, discuss, and support each other. If you want to start a business, the barriers to entry (and especially the barrier of high cost) are no longer. Today, it is possible to get started on the Internet with few means. In addition, you are already at the center of the universe: whatever project you have in mind, the globalization of the market makes anything accessible from your home.
Reason # 2: The unconventional has become the conventional.
The conventions of society that dictated the way we should live and that stole the dreams of most people are disappearing. Today’s world is too connected and moving too fast for these conventions to be of any resistance.
Three elements illustrate this concept well:
- 60 years ago, no one would have gone to work without wearing a tie. Today, we no longer need to go to work to work.
- The concept of having the same job all your life has since disappeared.
- Life is getting longer and longer. Between 1950 and 2007, human beings gained about 10 years of life expectancy. Since you are going to live longer, do what you love as much as possible and for as long as possible.
Reason # 3: The feeling of emptiness.
Technology has enabled us to shatter convention, but at the same time, it has also enabled us to take on the question of the meaning of life. The solution is to take initiative, to start something ourselves, something that makes sense. In reality, it is not that seeking profit is necessarily bad, but we see today that people need to be strongly motivated by the meaning of what they are doing, and not just by the financial aspect.
Reason # 4: The sound of the clock ticking.
There is one thing technology hasn’t changed: you won’t live forever. At best, you are going to live a little longer, but that’s just one more reason to follow the life you want, not the one you ended up in. Another thing that technology hasn’t changed: clichés about the passage of time. By the time you finish reading this sentence, a few more seconds will have passed.
Here are 106 billion lessons that now is a good time to start something:
- Over 100 billion humans have died throughout human history.
- 8 billion humans are currently alive, in what is the most populous period in history.
- This is the total number of chances to live your life in the history of this world. Chances are, you don’t want to forever remain an anonymous face in today’s crowd – this kind of existence is a life of regrets.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and starting on the first one.” – Mark Twain – Shaa Wasmund and Richard Newton, Stop talking, Start Doing
Part Two: The Itch
You’ve been bitten and now you have an itch the size of a mosquito… or even the size of Mount Everest. Maybe you’ll live with that itch forever until you write that novel, start this business, or get that dream job. The first thing to do is recognize this itch. Once you have done so, you will already be halfway there because, at least, you will know which direction to focus your attention.
The first step is to know what you want. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but only the right answer for you. It could be that your ideal life may seem completely unsuitable for someone else. So, take a piece of paper and a pencil and write down the thing you desire the most; that thing that will make the biggest difference or bring the most happiness in your life. Do it now.
Ask yourself where you want to be in the train of life: as the driver or just a passenger.
Not Everyone Has an Overwhelming Need to Do Something in Particular
Sometimes you just get the feeling that life has more to offer than you have. We are used to hearing the question “what is your passion?” But for many people this is a difficult question. In fact, writer Daniel Pink says the right question to ask yourself is “what do you do for a living”, not necessarily what you do for a job. Indeed, it is really about the other things you do; how you spend your free time. What subjects interest you and what activities do you take part in? What do you do even if you are not paid to do it? Answer those and you will have the answer to your question.
In a world obsessed with wealth and fame, it may sound wrong to say that money is not the answer to happiness. Those who don’t have any know it would make their lives easier and those who do proclaim that money doesn’t buy happiness. If that is true, what constitutes happiness?
According to psychologist Abraham Maslow, it is in pursuing what excites us and really motivates us that we will be happy. Indeed, by doing this, we will satisfy our highest needs.
In fact, according to him, a human being is motivated by five categories of needs, in order of importance:
- Need for security: to have a job, a house, to be in good health.
- Need for love and belonging: friends, love, networks, tribes.
- Physiological need: to breathe, to drink, to eat, to sleep.
- Need for esteem: money, social status, power.
- Need for self-fulfillment: to be and to do what really motivates you.
Money covers some of these needs but not all of them, and certainly not the most important: the need for fulfillment. It’s only when the first four needs are met that you can tackle the last (the infamous mosquito itch): self-fulfillment.
However, we must not go astray. This urgency to turn words into action does not mean that talking is a bad thing, on the contrary. It is one of the best ways to explore your ideas. If you talk about something on a regular basis, chances are it is a sign of something important that occupies you and that you need to do something about it.
So, if you are seriously thinking about taking action, then do not hesitate to talk about it with those around you but do so sparingly. The people around you will listen to you if they genuinely believe that when you talk about doing something, you are actually going to do it. This is what we can call the Mohammed Ali approach: if you talk about great things, and you do great things, then you are profoundly great.
Two warnings before taking action:
- Intention: Take a close look at why you want to do something. Are you doing it because you deeply desire it or is it for what people will say about you once this thing is done? Because if it is the latter, you remain dependent on other people, and this is not self-actualization.
- Liability: If the thing (or things) you want to do have a big impact on your life or the lives of those around you, think hard about why you are doing it before taking action.
Why Taking Action Attracts Criticism and Complaint?
We are all interdependent. Having a routine, seeing the same people in the office every day (even if we don’t like them or if it’s just to tell them how horrible life is) is something comfortable. In a way, it’s a kind of confirmation that we’re doing things right, since everyone does the same.
As a result, if you do something different (take action), you will break the status quo with the consequence of attracting an army of critics towards you. It’s your fault: you have become frightening! The reason is that when you change, your relationships with others also change; and it really frightens people. Let them talk, and you move on. When you leave your comfort zone, it also makes others uncomfortable because they are then faced with their own inaction.
The good news is that by doing this you will also attract constructive criticism, which will help you improve and move towards your goals. Consider this constructive criticism carefully: it can improve your plans. Know how to clearly distinguish constructive criticism (that which helps you move forward) from criticism that comes from the fear that others have.
The World Is Not Conspiring Against You (Some Advice for the “Persecuted”)
Do you suffer from “poor me” syndrome? Some people think they can’t do things because the whole world is against them. But this is not the case. The world is, in a way, against each of us. However, for some people, this feeling of persecution can be crippling.
The philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russel developed four rules to ward off this mania of persecution:
- Don’t overestimate your own merit. If no one likes your paintings or your business plan, consider the possibility that they might be right and that you are wrong.
- Don’t expect others to care about you as much as you care about yourself. We all have our own egos and needs. If people aren’t interested in you as much as you would like, you might be asking for too much.
- Remember that your motives are not always as selfless as they seem to you. Those who think that their “itch” is morally more important than that of others are much more likely to feel persecuted. They indeed have high self-esteem and therefore may feel persecuted when others ask them about the motives behind their actions.
- Don’t think that most people care enough about you to want to harm you. Normal people don’t spend their time figuring out how to thwart your plans; they’re way too busy with their own issues and dealings.
Maybe you’re happy enough to be the type of person who talks about the great things they want to accomplish rather than being the one to take action and get things done. That’s okay, there are a lot of people like you.
In fact, actor Georges Burns said: “Too bad that all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxicabs and cutting hair.“
Keep in mind, however, that you may start to try the patience of the people you talk to. So, if you see jaws tightening or ears bleeding when you talk about your big plans that you have no intention of accomplishing, please stop! As a Chinese proverb says: “talking does not cook rice.”
Another great book on action is the book Ready, Fire, Aim, by American entrepreneur Michael Masterson, of which the guiding principle is to test out by doing.
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Mohammed Ali
Part Three: Fear and Regret
When it comes to taking control of your life and turning words into action, fear is what holds most people back. Fear is a natural thing; however, it was for a time when the risk was to be eaten by a dinosaur, not being denied the promotion we expected. One of the tips from the book Stop Talking, Start Doing is to simply embrace the fear and leave the regrets for others!
The Scale of Fear and Regret
Regret outweighs fear, but fear seems greater to us because we see it standing right in front of us, tormenting us. Regrets for not following our hearts creep through us over time, and each regret gets heavier and heavier.
This means that the only thing you should be afraid of is regret! Regret for not doing the things you would have loved. If you do things right and make a mistake, you can always do things differently to correct that mistake. Regrets are much harder to resolve. If you did not do something in the past when you had the chance, it will stay on your mind forever. You cannot go back. When you realize this, all your other fears decrease in proportion, and you start doing things.
Here are some of the suspects that are preventing you from taking action:
- The past.
- The opinion of others and the fear of ridicule.
- The lack of money.
- I didn’t go to school or I didn’t get the right education.
- The trap of your possessions.
- There are not enough hours in a day.
- I’m too busy (number 6’s twin sister).
You know what to do with these suspects: throw them in the toilet and flush! If you don’t, there will always be reasons not to take action. It will indeed be harder for some people than for others. But you know what? The clock does not care, it moves at the same pace for everyone!
1. The past
The prison you created by accident. Yes, you’ve made mistakes in the past: move on. Recognize that we all make mistakes and that will never change. So, learn from these mistakes and move on. The past is the past, the limit of history is now. All you can do is choose your next action. So, don’t let your past mistakes take over your future.
2. The opinion of others and the fear of ridicule
Worried about other people laughing at you while you try to chase your dreams? So what?
- What do you care about them?
- If someone laughs at you, does that person deserve to be a part of your life? Show them the way out.
- The good news in getting these people out of your life is that you stop taking yourself too seriously. 106 billion people have taken themselves too seriously: what good has it done for them?
- More pragmatically, the person laughing at you is 72.8% water.
3. The lack of money
It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Of course, it’s easier to indulge in your favorite hobby when you have the money to do so. However, it’s a double-edged sword because the more money you have, the harder it is to quit your job to do what you really want. There are a lot of people with large incomes who are prisoners of their work because they have become addicted to their standard of living and cannot let go of it.
That doesn’t mean you have to mourn the plight of the rich, but instead see it this way: you have a lot less to lose.
4. I didn’t go to school or I didn’t get the right education
Much like money, the right school helps. If you went to a second-class school, you may be tempted to tell yourself that the cards won’t work in your favor and that it’s not even worth fighting for. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Ask Bill Gates, Richard Branson or Coco Chanel what they think: 25% of the biggest fortunes in the Forbes rankings have no higher education, proving that what matters is your attitude, not your education.
5. The trap of your possessions
If you’re thinking you don’t want to risk what you have to achieve that itch of yours, then maybe the truth is, you’re pretty happy with what you have. In this case, embrace what you have and appreciate it more.
For example, maybe you like your job but what frustrates you is not playing sports on the side. Take a serious look at the reasons for your unhappiness and see if there is anything you can do about it.
Otherwise, if you seriously believe that what you have is not enough and it never was, then face your fears and take action!
6. There are not enough hours in a day
This is true: there is not enough. That will never change. If you want to take action, you have to recognize that we all have the same amount of time in a day – it’s how we use it that matters.
So, do with what you have and prioritize!
7. I’m too busy (number 6’s twin sister)
Thinking that you are completely busy may be a reflection of your life. It may also be another way of procrastinating.
You may also have a chronic need to busy yourself. This means that you are really busy, but with things that are not important, instead of doing the things that are truly important. Be sure that your behavior towards your pursuits is pointed in the right direction.
The Discomfort Zone
If everything you’ve just read about facing your fears puts you in an uncomfortable position, then congratulations, you’ve come to the right place! It means you get up off your chair to move forward. You must embrace this discomfort zone without hesitation.
The discomfort zone is a state that you have to go through to achieve any significant change.
There is always a reason not to do it. The truth is, for most of us, life can be difficult at times, but it is at these specific times that we have to dig deep and rely on ourselves to get out of the hole. We need to move on and create solutions where there don’t seem to be any.
You must do what is necessary and not give up, no matter how hard it is. By the way, no matter what you do, it certainly won’t be what you want to do, but it will be one more brick added to what you want to build.
Many people have different types of obligations. How many people do you know who have chosen a certain career because at some point in their life they believed it would please their wives, parents, teachers, or society? We owe it to ourselves to be honest with ourselves as we deal with these obstacles tactfully. Explain to those who love you that following your intuition doesn’t necessarily mean living a life of debauchery. You may not graduate with a doctorate, but you will be happy and fulfilled. If you have more constraints than average, accept the fact that you have a bigger challenge to overcome; it happens. That said, you have the same chances of success.
Ditch the television or get up an earlier hour: take time where you can. Become involved publicly. This is proven to increase your chances of success.
One last word: if you don’t feel a minimum of trepidation about what you’re about to do, then it must mean it’s not that important. You should feel this trepidation.
You cannot change the past. Once a moment has passed and you have wasted your chance to seize on an opportunity; well… that’s that. You must deal with it.
On the other hand, if you’ve got over your fears and tried to stop that itch you’re feeling, and things didn’t go as planned, you need to take responsibility for the consequences today. Action makes it possible to change, fix and get things done. You can lie to yourself by convincing yourself that you are doing something, but in the end, you will not have done anything when the regrets of inaction come knocking on your door.
Action leads to self-actualization. Invest in doing, and you will find your way to happiness!
It has been proven that doing things (like going to the movies) is much more satisfying than buying things. Even when people think about the things they’ve done, they feel happier than when they think about the things they’ve bought. Imagine the satisfaction they could get if they did it with actions that have great personal value.
Invest in doing: learn, train, experiment, write, travel, help, build a business and make your dreams come true!
Part Four: Get Started
If Stop Talking, Start Doing were the Bible, the first Commandment would be: get started. If it were a cookbook, it would say add lots of “Go” to the mix. And if it were the owner’s manual for a car, it would be written: The car will not start until you turn the engine over. That’s not the case. Stop Talking, Start Doing says: Don’t be a sheep. The moment you take action, everything changes.
Now Let’s Roll
It is impossible to overstate the importance of getting started, but if this is the main and most important point of this book, why not start directly with it? In fact, most people don’t take action until they’ve completed the three parts we saw earlier.
The good news is that getting started makes things happen. This in itself is the guarantee of success because it consists of saying goodbye to the status quo. Ultimately, you will remember that Stop Talking, Start Doing began with a very clear concept: the passage of time. It is the only imperative, the one that prompts you to stand up and take action.
Elimination of Procrastination
Of course, you feel the urge to procrastinate; it’s human. In fact, you are faced with a dichotomy:
- Taking action will bring you a reward in the future.
- Succumbing to vices (watching a movie, serving yourself a glass of wine, etc.) will bring you satisfaction in the short and medium term.
Rest assured, you can eliminate procrastination. The key is to be aware of its existence beforehand and to eliminate the multiple distractions around you (television, cakes in the pantry, video games, etc.).
The Heckler Within
I have good news for you. When you start something, your subconscious keeps you from stopping. You have your own heckler within you, pushing you to continue. This is called the Zeigarnik effect, named after the Russian psychologist who coined it. This means that, just by taking action and focusing on your project, you get a little help from your subconscious that nags you and makes you go “to the end” from a psychological point of view. In terms of your project, going “to the end” means accomplishing the next important task: finishing this project!
Professionals Have a Word for It
Taking action and correcting things along the way is an approach that is used a lot these days in the business world. This is called LEAN development. Instead of spending months or even years developing lines of code and then releasing a product and getting customers interested; developers try new versions every week. This enables them to discover problems more quickly and gain a competitive advantage over their rivals.
They take action to transform their ideas from a hypothesis to a reality as quickly as possible. They thus move from a stationary position to a dynamic position: no fears, no regrets. Yet, the most important thing is that each step brings them a bit closer to success.
The History of Accidental Success
When you start something, you don’t know where you’re going to end up. This is called risk. This uncertainty of outcome is one of the reasons many people are paralyzed with fear at the thought of taking action. However, perhaps going straight from A to Z doesn’t matter. It may be that finishing at point F is still a great outcome.
History is indeed filled with great tales of people who started something only to finally discover something totally different that would never have been discovered otherwise. In retrospect, it doesn’t look like a failure at all. In reality, it teaches us that the only important thing is to get started. The most famous example is certainly Coca-Cola, which was originally developed as a medicine to cure most ailments, from hysteria to headaches. Today it has become one of the most consumed drinks in the world.
Suppose you want to open a big restaurant instead of doing your office job that bores you terribly. You finally dare to take the plunge, but things don’t go as planned and you find yourself running a snack bar on the beach, in front of a turquoise sea and sheltered by coconut palms. Have you thereby failed? There is no right or wrong answer to this question, it all depends on your outlook and where you want to be. Only if doing an office job depressed you to tears, then the very act of taking action to pursue your dream means that no matter where you end up, it will be a different place than where you started. Landing close to your goal or changing direction can still be a success!
How Do You Surprise the People Around You?
Do what you say. Really. We are so used to hearing people promise the moon only for us to end up greatly disappointed that the surest way to surprise and satisfy someone is to just do what you said you would do when you promised to do it.
In addition, the person you please the most will be yourself.
“For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align, and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually’, just do it and correct course along the way.” –Timothy Ferriss, The 4-hour work week
Part Five: The Art of Decision-Making
There is a natural order of things. This order takes place as such: decide then do. Action comes after decision-making. One of the important things in Stop Talking, Start Doing is forcing yourself to make a decision about that itch. Even if you choose not to make a decision, you’re making a decision: to not change things. Not making a decision about the things that truly matter in your life is letting the currents of life wash you away, leaving you as a mere spectator of your life.
The Decision-Making Muscle
The decision-making muscle behaves like any muscle: the more decisions you make, the stronger and better it becomes. Of course, it may seem easier to just sit there and hope for things to change on their own. It may be that this is the case. It may also be that they get worse.
If you train your decision-making muscle, you’re in control, and the rare times you make the wrong decision, you’ll still have accomplished a lot more than doing nothing.
Make a decision, then take action!
The Appeal of Seeking Information
There has never been as much information and research available as there is today. We have access to so much data, at our fingertips, that millions of people are trapped in the idea of finding more information. We always want more information and research to support and validate our ideas. And we are waiting for all the necessary information to be available and for all the lights to be green before taking action. It’s a fun activity, but it won’t get you anywhere. Take action!
How Getting Lost in “Flow” Can Help You Make Decisions
We have seen that the key to happiness is a combination of action and meaning in what we do. We can develop this idea further and help ensure that you are making the right decision. It turns out that the activity that makes you the happiest is the one that you practice without really being aware that you are doing it.
It was psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who, by studying people who genuinely loved what they did, discovered that time really flies when you are so engrossed in what you are doing that you surrender yourself. Csikszentmihalyi calls this state “flow”.
Flow is a state that you can only achieve through an activity that really challenges you. When you reach this state, you are so engrossed in what you are doing that you do not even notice the passage of time, your state of fatigue, or even whether you are hungry. Your brain cells are just too busy to notice all these things! It also requires you to develop a skill for what you are doing.
We can now review our formula:
Action + Meaning + Skill = Flow
You are in flow when you are engaged in a challenge of optimal level. This means that you are using skills that are above average to accomplish something more difficult than average.
What You Need to Know about Maximizers and Satisficers
One of the ways psychologists use to define and segment people is by looking at whether they want “only the best” (in which case we speak of “maximizers”) or if they settle for something “good enough” (in this case, we speak of “satisficers”).
It’s important to know that satisficers tend to be happier with their choices than maximizers.
This is the case, for example, of someone who cannot make up their mind at a restaurant, as opposed to someone who will choose a dish that seems good to them and then who will move on. It can also be a person who is unable to form a relationship because they are waiting for the perfect partner.
If we apply this to the world of work and business …
The Inability to Choose the Perfect Job
Some studies have therefore studied this difference in behavior in the work world. These studies have shown that:
- Maximizers apply for more job openings.
- They fantasize about jobs they haven’t even applied for.
- Once they accepted a job, they would have liked to have had more options.
- They earn on average 20% more than satisficers.
However, despite this difference in pay, maximizers feel significantly worse about their situation and experience significantly more stress, fatigue, anxiety, worry, depression, and burnout.
Scientists have concluded that the search for the “best” solution necessarily leads to disappointment. In other words, make a decision that you can live with and throw yourself wholeheartedly into that decision.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People
Part Six:… and Action!
Stop a minute. This is the calm before the storm. Right before you crawl into the world of action, take a break, and take a deep breath, because you’re going to need a little organization from here on out.
Then, once you’ve come up with a cunning plan, it will be very beneficial for you to dig a little deeper to separate the actions and habits that will help you optimize your plan from those that keep you from moving forward.
A Little Planning
Your will alone will not get you where you want to go. You need a plan. Without this plan, your chances of successfully climbing your personal Mount Everest are slightly better than those of winning the lottery.
Building the right plan starts with setting the right goal. This goal is not quite the same as your dream or project – it must be measurable. For example, building your business is not a goal, while starting an organic products business within six months is.
The Problem of Imaginary Goals
Be careful not to set imaginary goals for yourself. One of the problems that we often encounter in people who do nothing but talk is that of deliberately setting a goal that is impossible to achieve or that is so lofty that it is doomed to fail.
In fact, it turns out that people who set these kinds of imaginary goals are the ones who are most crippled by the fear of failure. By setting unrealistic goals, they anticipate failure – it is already accepted. These objectives then become part of a world of fiction and those who articulate them do not intend to implement them in real life.
The Idiocy of Goals
Analyze your goal for any signs of idiocy. If you suffer from goal idiocy, then you are going to be so obsessed with your future goal that you are going to ignore the practical reality of your situation. In fact, you’re going to think that, as if by magic, reaching your goal in the future will save you from all the hard work, sacrifices, and choices you’re actually going to have to make along the way. This is what leads to excessive behavior and unreasonable risk-taking (financial risks, endangering the safety of your family).
Once the goal is clearly defined, the plan must be put in place to achieve it. This plan will have to be:
- To split your days into several attainable parts.
- To have critical steps.
Splitting your days into several attainable parts is essential. A goal, taken as a whole, may seem unattainable. By dividing this goal into several attainable parts, it immediately looks much more achievable. For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds in a year, it may seem impossible, while losing a little less than 2 pounds per month, or 500 grams per week, seems much more feasible. Plus, you can be sure that whatever your plan is, it will be put to the test of real life very quickly and will need to be adapted accordingly.
This term is used in the corporate world, in project management, to describe the sequences of events that a team must follow in order to complete an objective within a given time frame. If one of these events is delayed by one day, the entire project is delayed by that much. In your situation, this will simply mean that you have to complete each part on time to get the expected results.
Things That Can Help You in Your Day and What You Need to Throw Away
Now that you have made a firm decision to join the side of those who take action; you should use all the tools you can to make sure you stay the course. You should also be careful not to dwell on thoughts; and activities that consume all your energy and do not help you move forward.
Here are five actions that can help you:
- Public involvement: Share your project with those around you (friends, family, colleagues) because it has been proven that you achieve your objectives more easily when you share them with the right people.
- Step by step: Break down the work to be done in small steps, as we have seen. By doing this, you significantly decrease the risk of being discouraged by the magnitude of the task and you increase the chances of achieving micro-successes throughout the project.
- Reward yourself at every critical milestone: When you achieve and pass a critical milestone, celebrate your success! Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation, buy flowers, a good meal or go out to a party; anything that you can enjoy.
- Keep track: Writing down your progress can help you visualize all the work you’ve done – it makes the process real and lets you remember everything you’ve done prior.
- Do it for the right reasons: Keeping in mind the right reasons why you are doing things will make it easier to stay the course.
Now here are five actions that don’t help:
- Motivating yourself by idealizing someone: Posting the photo of someone who is successful in the field you are aiming for does not help in achieving the objective.
- Doing it for the wrong reasons – thinking about failure or how much you hate what you are doing: Trying to motivate yourself by reminding yourself how miserable you are, or the state of misery in which you are going to find yourself if you fail, will not work. The negative energy that will come out of such thoughts will not help you focus your energy and discipline towards the objectives you are aiming for.
- Suppressing unnecessary thoughts: You won’t lose weight by refusing to think about ice cream. The more energy you put into not thinking about something, the more you actually think about it.
- Idealizing your dream: Those who keep thinking about the wonderful life they will have once the objective is reached are the ones who are least likely to make it happen. In doing this, they are focusing on achieving success, not the process that will get them there.
- Relying on will alone: Will is neither a plan nor a solid foundation. It is important, but it alone will not get you to the objective – relying on it alone will necessarily lead to disappointment.
A Personal Slogan
Yes, you heard right (even the cynics); this message is for you. You need a slogan, mantra, or tip that will help you develop the positive habits so you can pursue your objective.
This slogan will also help you get back on track if you start to become complacent or become all talk and no action.
So, pick a slogan, one that works for you. Display it where you can see it – on your fridge door, as your phone’s background display, or on your office wall.
And Now What?
- Now you grab life by the neck, shake it, mold it, and do whatever you want with it.
- You know your itch. You turned it into an achievable and measurable objective.
- As you know yourself, so you know what you’re going to do to make this change your new reality.
- You know you need a plan.
- And you know what will help you and what will not.
- You know regret outweighs fear.
- You can be sure that the clock is ticking regardless of you.
- As you know your life will end someday, no matter how hard you work on what’s important or what’s not.
It’s Up to You!
Each person has their personal challenges. You must face your demons and meet the challenges that are unique to you.
Perhaps your best option for achieving your objective is to serve tables at a restaurant at night, stay with your parents, and save all your money to take the trip of your dreams or start your business.
Maybe you think that you are too old, too proud, too insane; have too many kids, or live too far away. In that case, it is your reality, and you need to make a plan based on it.
There are as many life scenarios as there are grains of sand on a beach, and they are as loaded as the excuses people make for not making their dreams come true.
If you want to do it, from now on you know what to do: start!
Conclusion on Stop Talking, Start Doing:
The book Stop Talking, Start Doing is a little nugget that I discovered by accident. After reading and enjoying the author’s previous work, I had high expectations for this book. It must be said that I was not disappointed and that I am really more than happy to have discovered it. It is now one of my classics, which I reread regularly.
In terms of form, Stop Talking, Start Doing reads easily because it is quite visual. It alternates pages of classic texts with picturesque passages and quotes in larger fonts to emphasize the most important points.
Regarding the substance, Stop Talking, Start Doing is a book that gets straight to the point and cannot be ignored. One by one, it dismantles all the excuses that we come up with while procrastinating about something that is close to our hearts. By playing down the consequences of taking some form of action and by making the reader understand that there is much more to gain from getting started than from doing nothing, it helps put things into perspective and provides some healthy motivation.
I was especially appreciative of how the author doesn’t judge the reader but rather takes a six-step approach for getting him/her to do some soul-searching in order to identify what his/her ‘itch’ truly is.
Then, once this is accomplished, the reader is led, step by step, to have a more precise vision of his/her project in order to possibly carry it out. The author does not tell us to throw ourselves in at all costs (as is sometimes the case in personal development books) but, on the contrary, to take the time to reflect (without exaggerating) to set up a credible project and get started.
Personally, this is the book that provided me with the necessary impetus to launch into entrepreneurship even though I had already had the “itch” for several years but had doubts and made myself excuses for not doing it. After reading Stop Talking, Start Doing, I was no longer afraid to take action in all areas of my life. Moreover, the subtitle of the book, “A Kick in the Pants in Six Parts”, reflects quite well the general spirit. As a matter of fact, it inspired me to write an article to motivate readers to venture into their first real estate investment.
So, I recommend Stop Talking, Start Doing to anyone who has a project in mind but has second thoughts about carrying it out. It is only available in English but is easy to read, even with average English. I am actually surprised that it is not available in French because it could change the lives of many people.
- Easy to understand.
- Quick to read (170 pages).
- Concise, efficient, to the point.
- Encourages the reader to internalize and ask the right questions.
- Only available in English.
- There may be too much “levity” for those looking to do deep soul-searching.
My rating :
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