Impatience with actions, patience with results.- 4 mins
If there’s something I’ve struggled at doing in the last few years, it’s this - taking actions quickly. Instead, I do research. A lot of research. I do this until I find the most optimal way to do the thing that I’m attempting to do. In other words, I’m trying to reach for perfectionism.
Perfectionism is the enemy of action. In many ways, I would say that perfectionism is the biggest roadblock to achieving meaningful productivity. Because sometimes when you’re in perfectionism mode, you can mistake actions you take as counting towards being ‘productive.’
My most recent example is this blog. I started writing to establish clarity on my thoughts and hopefully help people reading with something I’ve spent a long time reading/researching. But before I got to building this - I researched the best hosting provider, the best way to get the perfect domain name, the best way to host content and format it. Until I decided not to do that and just get on with it. My reason to do this came from the tweet below -
Impatience with actions, patience with results. https://t.co/d5BOxcbLcg— Naval (@naval) June 18, 2018
Impatience with actions, and patience with results. A concise statement and yet a deeply effective one.
I’ve had great ideas in the past but very little to show what I did from it. I continue to have many interests but again - I don’t have a lot of in-depth experience in those interests that I wished I have. Yes, this can sound like I have regrets but I take this in stride to be better. Because without those actions and this reflection, I wouldn’t have a chance to improve. I want to keep improving.
With that said, there are a few ways I have managed to keep my action-oriented discipline higher -
Getting started with being more action-oriented towards your interests/goals
Build mindset of non-zero days
Sometime back, I came across this concept of non-zero days. And you guessed it - it’s all about producing some action. It need not be hours of effort or event more than a few minutes. As long as you do it just a couple of minutes and under - you’ll be on your way.
For eg - want to build a better physique and don’t want to shell out 1 hour? Just do a 7-minute session. Even a 30-second pull-up or push-up counts. All that matters is that you do it every day.
The important point is consistency. Eventually, you may want to invest more and more time as you slowly start to see the benefits of showing up.
Start with imperfect actions
This is a follow-up from the above strategy and may sound weird. But for hard-core perfectionists, I really recommend this strategy. Take anything that you want to get better at, and for a certain time duration - decide to do it imperfectly.
Notice how you feel when you do it imperfectly. All your fears about publishing something out to the world, or what others will think about you when you only do 1 rep at the gym will fade away when you realize no one cares a shit about you.
Perfectionism stems from a fear of judgment from others. When you get into this practice to do things imperfectly, you’ll realize how trivial perfectionism and other’s opinions are.
Continuing to being action-oriented
You may also be the person that finds it easy to start but struggles to keep up the motivation for the long term. I’ve struggled with this myself. So here’s how I look at it
Output » Inputs will make learning interesting
This is one of the best ways to keep being action-oriented. When you’re picking up a new interest or subject, make an attempt to share your progress and learning with people around you.
Instead of spending the majority of your time reading about how to become fit or pick up a guitar, actually record your time doing it. Create progress pictures or videos of how well you’re doing. Share it with friends and family to get some feedback. Slowly but surely you’ll start to notice the progress you end up making and this alone will keep your interest lasting much longer.
Reflect - get feedback
Journaling is one of the best habits you can develop. Reflecting in your journal regularly and documenting your thoughts along with your practice will help you understand more about what direction you want to take.
In my case, I’m able to clearly see a pattern of how things have changed for my mood and thinking before and after my practice of writing daily. Reaffirming my desire to write and increasing my motivation is the reason why I continue to write. Even as I continue to vacation in Hawaii.
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