Success in any entrepreneurial endeavor is contingent on a simple truth: Learning does not always require thinking.
Actually, thinking often hinders learning. Hinders learning? That flies in the face of most of what we know, doesn’t it? As children we were often reproached when we made mistakes: “You just weren’t thinking! Don’t you ever think about what you’re doing?”
Then there’s the most successful personal development book of all time telling us to do what? …That’s right, “Think and Grow Rich”. True it is a fantastic book and a must read for success minded people. But many of us get so tangled in thoughts that we can’t get out of our “heads” and take the action required for success.
Socrates, one of the greatest “thinkers” of all time, said, “Action equals knowledge.” Action, not thinking, is how we achieve results. Take playing the piano for instance. We could think about playing the piano but we will never become better until we start pecking away at the keys. If you were to ask an accomplished pianist to think about what they are playing in the middle of a rapturous concert, the music would probably fall apart into a series of painfully disconnected notes.
Same is true with typing. Ask a person who flawlessly types over 70 words a minute to think about the key strokes, and you could probably watch the mistakes pile up. Thinking hinders execution. Thinking can hinder success. The fact of the matter is we can intellectualize all we want, but until we take action we will never accomplish anything.
There is a mantra in the martial arts that says “Ready, Fire, Aim”. Simply put, this means take action and correct that action as you go. It is quite probable that many businesses never get out of the starting gate because of over-thinking and over analyzing. Most people want all their ducks to be lined up in a row before they begin. This will never happen. The time will never be perfect. The key is to get started and then “keep on keeping on.”
In the martial arts, students practice moves over and over and over again. They train their bodies to transcend thought and take action in the moment. Imagine a trained martial artist getting attacked on the street thinking, “Hmm, okay I’m being attacked. Should I turn my body this way or should it be the other way? Okay, now I have to trap the assailments arms, tighten my fists, pull back, and strike.”
Of course this is not what happens in the martial arts. The key teaching in the martial arts is to ACT. NOW! …In spite of the mind’s tenancy to analyze the situation.
The worst kind of thinking is fear of failure. The “What if” disease. “What if I fail? What if people laugh at me? What if I lose all my money? What if, what if, what if?
Fear is paralyzing. It stops the movement necessary for success. Fear weakens our resolve, cripples our creativity, and ultimately stagnates our successes. Conversely, movement overcomes fear. When struck by fear, move. Do something!
So, don’t wait to explore your entrepreneurial spirit; take action now. When those pesky thoughts creep up, and they will, scare them away with the mantra, “Don’t think, don’t think, don’t think, don’t think…” and watch your dreams and goals cascade toward you.
What is the bottom line? “Don’t think and grow rich.”