“Always remember this: whenever you have thought long and hard about a new idea or plan of action, working out lots of details and preparing for all sorts of contingencies, and you first tell someone else about it, they are hearing it for the first time. It will be nearly impossible for any newly informed person to be as enthusiastic or as confident as you are. And it’s natural for your own confidence level, like water running downhill, to settle at the lowest point nearby. That’s why it is so important to be very careful about how you share your plans with others, and limit your exposure to the negative thinking and negative comments casual disbelievers can produce.” ― Tom Morris, True Success: A New Philosophy of Excellence
As we become more aware of the world and the influence those around us have on our life, we learn to stop saying what we’re going to do and start showing what we’ve done. It’s far better to simply begin working towards our goal than to have our hopes and dreams questioned by well-meaning but casual disbelievers. The thing is, plans aren’t reckless when they’re well thought out. They may present risks, but the risk of not doing something is also present. Which is more corrosive to our lives long term? What might have been, of course. So take the leap while there’s still time. Just be selective about when we tell someone we’re leaping.
We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, Jim Rohn once said, and we ought to be very selective about who those five people are. In turn, to become part of the five people someone we aspire to be more like associates with the most, we’ve got to earn that place at their table. So does everyone else. In this way we all grow.
The alternative of growth is to settle. There’s no magic in settling in life, it’s where dreams go to die a slow death, strangled by excuses and inaction. That’s not us, friends. We must take one small step today towards our plan of action, and then another. Incremental growth is still growth. What seems insignificant is extraordinary over time, for momentum comes through small habits consistently done.
“All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision. But as that decision is repeated, a habit sprouts and grows stronger. Roots entrench themselves and branches grow. The task of breaking a bad habit is like uprooting a powerful oak within us. And the task of building a good habit is like cultivating a delicate flower one day at a time.” ― James Clear, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
I have a friend, currently sailing around the world, who frequently teases me in the comments section of this blog about focusing on productivity instead of breaking free from my career and doing what he’s doing. Ironically, he’s one of the most productive people I know, and is sailing at this very moment precisely because his productivity led him to this moment, and carries him in subsequent moments. We are where we are because the sum of our actions demonstrated that our individual plan, conceived not so very long ago as bold and reckless, brought us here. Knowing that, how do we not conceive even bolder plans for our future?
Be bold today. Just be selective in who you tell about it. Let’s make it our secret and just show them later what we’ve quietly, relentlessly, done with our time.