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Don't Think; Just Do

Melvyn Tan
Melvyn Tan
2 min read
Don't Think; Just Do

For someone who thinks for a living, this piece of advice was hard for me to swallow.

[D]oing ought to precede thinking when it comes to baseline creative work.

~ Chase Jarvis

I’ve always believe in doing the research, speaking with potential customers, formulating a set of strategies before taking action.

Theoretically that sounds like great advice.

Problem is, I usually get stuck after formulating a set of strategies.

Why I don’t follow through

Either I fail to take action or come up with excuses to not do the work.

For that, I have lost days, weeks, months, and even years thinking, planning, rethinking, and re-planning. In the end, I hardly ever get anything off the ground.

And I’m pissed.

How I motivate myself

When I trace back to better understand why this happens, it comes down to three things:

Purpose. The lack of purpose, or perhaps more precisely the lack of a purpose bigger than me, has caused me to be less than enthusiastic about working on my tasks. For times when I have a purpose bigger than me, I am truly motivated to want to get the work done.

Commitment. Without a commitment, it is easy for things to slip through. Excuses like, “oh, I would do this tomorrow”, “I’m too tired to work on this now”, “I need to do more research on this”, will cause me to stall. When I can’t make a commitment to myself, I find someone who is an accountability partner to hold me accountable.

Habits. Once the planning is done, the next thing would be do the fucking work. The problem is, I don’t and I come up with excuses why I should not do, and I also go easy on myself for not doing it. The way around it is to design a set of habits, those that you do not even need to think, you just do it.

Like brushing your teeth, checking your phone when you wake up, walking to the fridge when you’re hungry. But design constructive habits, habits that will enable you to do the work necessary to move you closer to your goals.

Which of these are holding you back?

Melvyn Tan

Despite living the good life at midlife, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. My aim here is to reinvent midlife, learn new skills, and understand how the world works post-COVID.