Good afternoon dear reader & welcome to my world for another week. I must admit to being frustrated more & more often recently with the processes I see ‘being created’. It appears as if on many occasions whilst people & periodicals keep talking about AI, robotics & further advances in technology, we just seem to be bogged down further reductions in productivity.
So I went searching for some examples & it did not take me long to locate the following brilliant quote: “Screw it, just get on & do it.” Which was closely followed by: “Why can't we mine asteroids?” 1 Which prompted me to wonder; What is the difference between Branson & everyone else?
Here's what I think makes all the difference:
Branson does not merely say things like, “Screw it, just get on and do it.” He actually lives his life this way. He dropped out of school & started a business. He signed the Sex Pistols to his record label when everyone else said they were too controversial. He chartered a plane to the Virgin Islands after the last flight he was on was cancelled, even when he did not have the money.
This was a great story in one of his two books I have read. When everyone else balks or comes up with a good reason for why the time is not right, Branson just gets started. He figures out how to stop procrastinating 2, take the first step ~ even if it seems outlandish.
Branson is an extreme example, but we could all learn something from his approach. If you want to summarize the habits of successful people into one phrase, it is this: successful people start before they feel ready.
If there was ever someone who embodied the idea of starting before they felt ready to do so, it is Branson. The very name of his business empire, Virgin, was chosen because when Branson & his partners started they were “virgins” when it came to business.
Branson has started so many businesses, ventures, charities, & expeditions it is simply not possible for him to have felt prepared, qualified, & ready to start all of them. In fact, it is unlikely he was qualified or prepared to start any of them. He had never flown a plane & did not know anything about the engineering of planes, but he started an airline company anyway.
If you are working on something important, then you will never feel ready. A side effect of doing challenging work is you are pulled by excitement & pushed by confusion at the same time. 3
We are bound to feel uncertain, unprepared, & unqualified. But let me assure you of this: what we have right now is enough. You can plan, delay, & revise all you want, but trust me, what you have now is enough to start. It does not matter if you are trying to start a business, lose weight, write a book, or achieve any number of goals… who you are, what you have, and what you know right now is good enough to get going.
We all start in the same place: no money, no resources, no contacts, & no experience. The difference is some people ~ the winners ~ choose to start anyway. On reflection one of my biggest regrets is I never started my business & went out working for myself at least four years earlier than I did, when I have the opportunity to do so.
So, no matter where you are in the world my friends, & regardless of what you are working on, I hope you will start before you feel ready.
Thank you for taking the time to be with me once again. I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson, with my best wishes for the week ahead. I look forward to being with you all again next weekend.
1 Richard Branson
4 Inspiration from ‘Overcoming the Grasshopper mentality’ by Bob Gass Tuesday September 25th 2017