Last week I talked about how I used LISTS in order to define and gather the resources that I needed to row across an ocean. Of course I never actually got the To Do list 100% completed. I don’t believe that 100% is possible, unless you’re planning a space rocket launch or something like that, where anything less than 100% really won’t do.
But with an ocean voyage, I reckon about 94.3% is adequate. Of course, it is important to prepare well for an ocean voyage. If you run out of food or forget your toothbrush, there are no convenience stores in mid-ocean where you can stop and pick up supplies. What you have when you leave port is what you have for the duration. But don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good enough.
If you’ve ever spent much time around a marina, you’ll see sailors who have been there for years, preparing for their round-the-world yacht trip, still saying “I’ll be ready once I’ve just…”. They’ve been there so long preparing, it seems they’ll never get around to the voyage. It’s in the nature of To Do lists that the closer you get to 100%, the more items get added to the list, so 100% remains tantalisingly out of reach, just beyond your grasp.
So forget about 100%. There’s an army saying that you should, “Plan roughly, execute superbly”. It’s a useful mantra.
Just Do It
Don’t get me wrong. Taking action can be hard. That’s why so few people are living the life of their dreams – it’s so much easier to be a dreamer than a doer. And for some people that’s fine. Dreaming feels nice, and safe, and gives us a little rush of pleasure because when we experience something in our mind’s eye, our brain can’t tell the difference between the dreaming and the doing.
That’s why visualisation works so well for athletes – by visualising themselves operating at peak performance, they condition their minds and bodies to do exactly that. Of course they still have to train their muscles and cardiovascular systems too, but visualising the possibility of victory helps them to believe that it can, and will, happen.
So if we can get a fair impression of the nice feelings of achievement without actually having to achieve anything, why bother?
Well, sure. It depends on what you want to do with your life. If you want to feel nice and content, then stay home, stay safe, stay on the sofa.
But if you want to change the world, have an impact, make a difference, you have to act.
You have to put your oars in the oarlocks, cast off the bowlines, push off from the dock and start rowing. You have to point your bows out towards the wide blue ocean, and row away from everything that is familiar and safe and comfortable into the great unknown.
You have to feel the fear and do it anyway.
Stop drifting, start rowing.