The Forces Behind "Doing"

It is commonly said that an action happens twice. Once intangibly in your head and once in the actual tangible world. It is an indubitable fact of life. Unfortunately not enough people deliberately use this tool to their advantage. Most of the time we just fallback to our natural instincts and act out of emotion and the heat of the moment, usually without consultation. Visualising is essential for carrying out technical tasks, motor, athletic habits and for route memorisation. They give us accuracy, playing out possible scenarios in our heads and simulating the act in the safe zone of our imagined world. Yes, visualisation has significant value and more people should practice it in their lives.

“Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.”

― Robin Sharma, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

Additionally, I would argue that verbalisation is equally necessary. The second step to a three-step process in doing something. However, I agree that it's not for everything. We don't need to verbalise everything before we do something. That would be extremely inefficient for routine actions like grabbing a glass of water or shooting three-pointers (unless you're expecting feedback on your shots). We do need to verbalise our actions if what we do requires validation, permission, to rally people behind your action or just to make it more real. Any sensible person will want to talk about their ideas first, before anything of substance can form or happen.

The spoken word is very powerful, and with great power comes great responsibility.

1. Think (Visualisation)

Thinking is free. There's no thought police (🤔 yet?). Think about the most brazen solution to your problem, and solve it in your head. Go all out. Remember, we're still in your head, where no cost is incurred on all the materials and resources your action requires. If you have a plan, think about it. Plot out some or all of the possible outcomes of your course of action.

Think about the naysayers, but also think of the support you're gonna get.

Think big, think small, think t-shirt sizes, up to you. But remember that in the end, you're still only in your head -- there's no action yet. It's all thought and no walkht.

So, what do you do?

Weigh your ideas, solutions or thoughts. How much do you want it to be reality? How much do you want to act it out? How much do you want to see that image in your head in real life? How much do you want to spread the idea? Visualise and imagine the act, the effects, the aftermath, the results and outcome of your action proposition. Note your doubts, calculate your risks, make connections between arbitrary dots and jot down the uncertainties and possible blind spots.

Then you...

2. Verbalise (Verbalisation)

Don't keep it to yourself. Share it. Shout about it. Write about it. Discuss it. Get feedback on it. Get hate for it.

Do anything but be keeping quiet about it.

Verbalisation is a major step in doing anything worthwhile. You need to validate your thoughts. It sounded really sweet in your head initially, but when you put it in words and when you hear yourself talking about it, does it still sound as sweet? Do more blindspots open up? Are you really sure about your idea that you thought was the best? Talking about your seemingly great ideas is a great way to refine them, to learn humility and to think better. Knowing how to express something abstract is also a helpful tool in making sure your thoughts are valid.

You may have covered the surface, now that the idea doesn't sound too outlandish, you're still not sure. So you get perspective, get more angles. You are you, limited in your real experience, exposure and senses at the moment. Everybody has a different history, no two persons in the world can give you the exact same angle. And this is why you verbalise your thoughts. Gather all the angles, debate about your thoughts, you don't have to agree to everything the others say. You just need to make sure your unknowns are limited down to a personally comfortable level.

Sharing and spreading the word for what you're going to do is a double-edged sword. I personally think it's a more beneficial thing than it's not. I put in my short bio (as of the writing of this post) that I will post at least once a week. So that's creating some sort of an accountability on my part. Again, make sure it's something you're comfortable with (but not too comfortable), otherwise then you're setting yourself up for failure. Imagine if my accountability was me saying that I'll be posting 5 posts per day, or one post in like whenever. I'll most likely never post due to the immense pressure and then finally giving up, or just not bother enough since I didn't plan to commit.

Post promise

Last but not least, doing anything worthwhile has risks. What if your idea is too risky? How much risk is too much? High risk just means high uncertainty. And high uncertainty just means low knowledge. So talking about your doubts and uncertainties is definitely going to help in lowering your risk. Asking people about it usually means you're consulting people with experience or people whom you think are experts on certain aspects of your proposition.

What you're setting out to do is also very important for context. Are you talking to get people to just agree with your individual action? Or are you recruiting partners in your cause to save the world? Are you sharing ideas for the sake of spreading knowledge and teaching the people? Or are you inspiring action and rallying people behind your cause?

It's a no-brainer to talk about your grand plan if it's one which requires other people to act out with or for you. Do you need to gather the support of one partner, a group of founders, a local audience, a regional following or the general population?

The bigger the scale of the plan, the quicker you should start talking or writing about it.

As essential as visualization and verbalisation are, you're still all talk but no walk. But you're not about that, you're a person of action. You're not a talker, you're a walker. Unless all you need to do is talk and let the rest of the action happen by others executing something, then the doing part is fulfilled by your verbalisation.

If it's the former, finally, you...

3. Walk The Talk (Action)

Just do it!

By now you should have rallied enough like-minded allies behind your cause, have detractors reveal to you what their angles are, have supporters rooting for you all the way and have people to consult when you're in a pinch.

So you do it. Alone or with friends or just with other people who see your vision, your carrying out of the act. Be it a world domination plan, an art project, a family picnic, a start-up business or an adventurous drive to the local supermarket for some groceries in terrible weather conditions.

Just doing it

All the while remembering to keep talking about it. Keep on writing about it. Keep the feedback loop alive. Walk the talk but don't forget to keep talking about the walk. If it's worth doing, it's worth mentioning. A recent event that's really fitting as an example is the #trashtag movement.

Think, talk, do.

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Janson Chah
I write about personal stories, tech stuff, leadership, and life in general. Expect pointless ramblings, random thoughts. Minimum 1 post per week. (Edit: LIAR) Quality not guaranteed.