Just Do It


It sometimes seemed like my motto in life was: “I think therefore I am . . . done.” Meaning that thinking and understanding took precedence over, you know, doing. It was a case of “don’t just do something, sit there (and think about it).” Recently I have been making efforts to change that.

I was reading that ultimate geek resource, Life Hacker and saw an article entitled Get Past Your Childhood Doubts by Simply Starting.

The article included the following quote:

This feeling continues into adulthood. We want to design a website or build an application but if our own toolset doesn’t match up to the perceived skillset we never start. It doesn’t help that the internet gives us nearly limitless exposure to amazing work, talented individuals, and excellent execution. It’s easy to feel inadequate when you compare yourself to the very best, but even they weren’t born with those skills and they wouldn’t have them if they never started.
Betty Edwards

The quote resonated with me. Whenever I think of starting something, I present myself with a grand view of perfection. I compare that view to what I believe I can produce, and feel the aching pain of seeing such a large gap. For instance, I have dumped blog ideas because I know I will never achieve in real life the greatness I see in my head. I know that the scintillating prose I envisage will turn out to be stilted and mundane. Text that should bounce will fall flat. Ideas that sounded exciting in my head seem prosaic when put in prose. I was comparing perfection to something instead of comparing it to nothing.

That is one of the reasons I have decided to post more. It is not that I feel the posts will be particularly great, it is just that they will be done. I am never very satisfied with my posts, although looking back at some older ones they don’t seem to bad. I am hoping to discipline myself to just do it. I am trying to follow advice I have given others and not rate myself on the final product but rate myself on doing. That means that my rating for this post is 100 percent, because I did it. I hope over time that practice will make, if not perfect, at least quite good.

<obligatory PUA note>
I hardly need add that this outlook is applicable to game.
</obligatory PUA note>

Update: September 1, 2010
I followed the link from the blogroll at Hawaiian Libertarian to Roosh’s post: 13 Quotes About Life & Women. Two quotes seemed very apt for this post:

12. Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

13. Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

For those that like coincidence or serendipity: I would not normally visit Roosh’s blog because I am currently not really focused on game. Perhaps the title intrigued me, but for whatever reason I did click the link.


10 Responses to “Just Do It”

  1. Rebekah Says:

    I relate to this. I question everything to an extreme b/c I’m constantly aware of all that is better around me. It’s not that I expect to be best, but perhaps an understanding of where I fit into it all and how that contributes. This creates enough anxiety that either I never make the attempt for something, or if I do, it’s done poorly because I’m nervous and focused on all the perceived flaws. I see this the most in social situations and my job, etc.

    Like you, I’m making the effort to blog more. For me it’s like a baby step to fight against the tendency to retreat. Even if no one ever reads it, just putting it out there does something, I think.

    A friend told me today that I’m always in my head thinking and overthinking, and that I should actually come out and say something once in a while. This might be a good place to start too. 🙂 I don’t know if you can relate.

    Thank you for sharing this. Selfishly, it’s comforting to know there are people who understand a little bit about this feeling. I feel like I rambled on a bit about myself in this comment. Sorry!

  2. Default User Says:

    I would not call what you said “rambling.” It was short and on point to the post.

    I suppose the lesson regarding anxiety is that it is the price for improvement.
    [I think what can happen with Introverted iNtuitives (especially INFP and INTP) is that iNntuition generates lost of potential failures. Of course these are abstract images of the imagination but your nervous system does not know that.]

    I think introverted types can forget that just because it is done in their head does not mean it is complete. It is the belief that if my thought is complete then it is done.

    The great thing about blog posts is that they stay there. Even if ignored today they can find life later. I enjoy having comments, and would like to think someone read my posts and found them interesting or amusing. But, like you, I have decided that I should worry about writing them first.

    I can certainly relate to “should say something” comment. It is easy for others to assume you are not engaged if you are saying nothing. This is especially true for extroverted types who assume that an idea has not happened until spoken aloud. Like blogging, it can be good to say something even if it seems superfluous and uninspired. While it may be superfluous and uninspired, at least everyone now knows what you think. In any case the majority of conversations are made up of just such superfluous and uninspired comments.
    [I certainly have a surfeit of “superfluous” in the above.]

    I imagine there are many people (at least more than you would suspect) that feel as you do. Due to that close-to-the-chest attitude, they will never admit it.

    I am glad you found it helpful. I really do like if I can do something like that.

  3. Rebekah Says:

    Thank you for your insightful response, Default — it was very encouraging. You do have interesting posts, and it’s really nice to see you exploring and writing more. Of course, I really enjoy your MB posts and hope you’ll revisit this subject at some point too.

  4. An Unmarried Man Says:

    I am a very impulsive person by nature. This extends to my writing and blogging, especially. If I attempt to mute or fight my impulsiveness with excessive amounts of tedious thought or microscopic mental dissection, my creativity and expression suffer badly.

    If I sit on an idea too long (for instance, if I have an idea early in the morning on the way to work), it will freeze in place and not perform for me later in the day when it comes time for me to actually write. I’ve learned to consciously remove the idea from my mind for most of the day in order to keep its “genesis” fresh in my mind.

    My obsessive attentiveness to detail and thought comes during my rewrite phase. I re-read each post about 3-5 times (sometimes more) before I publish. This is the portion of my creative process in which I expend all my mental energy. If I become mired in apprehension before even starting to write, I’m doomed.

  5. Default User Says:


    Of course, I really enjoy your MB posts and hope you’ll revisit this subject at some point too.


    I have had a few vague ideas around that topic but they are very vague.

    And no, they are not close to the “just do it” stage.

  6. Default User Says:

    @An Unmarried Man

    I have had ideas pop into my mind only to have them hide when I go to look for them later. I do have a text file on my computer desktop that I click on and dump ideas into. I often carry a little notebook for the same reason.

    I agree that the best writing comes in the editing stage. I tend to edit as I go, I find it difficult to write in complete free-flow. However, I would probably do better to put aside the piece and return later for more editing. My eagerness to call it complete and get it out there tends to mean that I do a quick edit and hit “Post.”

  7. David Foster Says:

    Reminds me of an experiment I read about several years ago:
    “The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot -albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”. Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.”

    My comment at the time was “totally consistent with my experience in business–if you exempt people from producing intermediate results, they are likely to wind up producing no results– and applicable to all sorts of situations.”

  8. Default User Says:

    @David Foster
    Interesting and, as you said, it makes sense.

    That was the reason I wanted to post more. I figured that even if practice does not make perfect, it increases the chance of something quite good.

    The one-pot-perfection outlook is something I am trying to lose.

    At the end of a month, perhaps I should weigh (or word count) my posts.
    [on a word count basis the lozzzzlll guy would still win, and I am not sure I want to go that route]

  9. Word Around the Campfire – the Cheerleader edition « Hidden Leaves Says:

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