Lose this day loitering – ’twill be the same story
To-morrow – and the next more dilatory;
Each indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting o’er lost days.
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute –
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Only engage, and then the mind grows heated –
Begin it, and then the work will be completed!
While The Secret is riding its wave of popularity it is easy to forget that things change when we change. Not just when we think, but when we do. Not think about doing, but actually do.
Von Goethe wrote about a tendency towards activity with such precision that his words continue to be repeated and contemplated perhaps two hundred years after he wrote this piece. While he was one of the creative giants of history – and a polymath, having attained world-class status as a dramatist, novelist, poet, journalist, painter, statesman, educator and natural philosopher – it is clear that as creative as he might have been, he made things happen and got stuff done.
Intellectualisation, rationalisation and introspection are some of my favourite hobbies. I like to think that many of the mistakes that I have made shall not be repeated as many times because I took the time to notice and amend the cause. But there is nothing quite as powerful as doing stuff! A bit of science helps us understand this – it seems that eminent performance comes after about a decade of disciplined and focused practice within a domain (from Ericsson originally, but more accessible here). Instrumentality – believing that what you do will make a difference – has a big impact in results too (kids who believe that they can get smarter if they work harder do get smarter!)…
But once you’re done intellectualising, the only way that you get somewhere is to get on the phone or the internet and buy the plane ticket… or buy your own plane of course.
Oh yeah… and a huge thanks to Daniel Lewis for his photographic work. You’ll see it here soon!