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Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Co-Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

Moving From Idea To Action

Having ideas is the easy part. Actually doing anything about those ideas is ever-so-slightly harder.<...>

This is something that I've been pondering recently, until it struck me this morning.

The only way to move from idea to action is to close the gap between the two as quickly and efficiently as possible.

What does this mean?

Well, if I have an idea for a new blog post (like this one), the best way to ensure that I make something of that idea, is to sit down immediately (plus intuitively and impulsively) to write that post.

Or when I feel like going for a run; it doesn't help to delay or schedule that run for later this afternoon. If my mind and body feels like a run right now, that's probably the best time to just go out there and run.

The problem I've seen is that the bigger the gap between idea and action, the more likely I am to procrastinate. This is likely due to the fact that I lose the impetus or the momentum that a new idea generates.

But what normally happens in that gap once we've had an idea?

Most people would say first-things-first, which would mean they start whatever analysis of the idea. This includes research (to whatever extent) to gather data to ultimately enable planning.

As a parallel to this process, one of two things start to happen in our minds and hearts: we either increase the likelihood to take action or we decrease it. There's definitinely an emotional component in that (a fear to start), along with a it of analysis paralysis.

More data doesn't necessarily mean better decisions.

It's interesting that analysis paralysis is described as over-thinking something, which leads to too many options without a decision instead of just starting. In the same breath, you'd read about an approach of learning and iterating.

The problem is that there's no real way for us to empirically know that something is a good or bad idea. In that regard, your guess is as good as mine.

Which brings me back to that initial impetus of having an idea... At that point, you're probably most convinced (than you'll ever be) about the merits of the idea you just had. That's intuition, impulse and instinct. Not acting on any of these things (as quickly as possible) is almost like waiting for permission.

This approach also doubles-down on the notion that we should be more present in the now; not too focused about yesterday's baggage and the future's possibilities. Just act on whatever idea, insight or impulse we have right now.

That's the way to start most things.

I'm sure if some of society's greatest inventors waited for data or validation, many inventions would never have seen the light of day.

The same applies to entrepreneurs: from the smallest to biggest ideas, they all had a start and the one's that ultimately succeeded had the least amount of friction (in moving from idea to action).

So if you have an idea right now, take action immediately.

(Heck, I hope that if I sparked an idea in the middle of this blog post, you would've stopped reading it and taken action instead.)

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