Stop Talking, Start Doing

“Productive” is a word that haunts those around me. It’s idolized and overused. I say it, often unaware that I’ve completely lost track of its meaning.

Is it productive to just sit with my laptop open, looking like I’m working, but instead, I’m slowly burning myself out? Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is rest.

I’m sure you’ve heard the sayings:

  • “Don’t talk about it, be about it.”
  • “Put your money where your mouth is.”
  • “Shit or get off the pot.”
  • And my personal favorite:”Put up or shut up.”

These all boil down to one thing: stop talking and start taking action. Imagine how productive you could be if you stopped talking about how productive you wanted to be.

Walt Disney once said, “The best way to get started with something is to quit talking and start doing.” Doing anything helps build momentum. I often overthink the first steps because they might be in the “wrong direction” or “not the best use of my time.”

It’s an excuse.

Everyone’s thought processes are different, so there could be several reasons for the mental block. Maybe you don’t feel ready or are just an overthinker, which in the long run could be causing yourself more damage.

In one of his podcasts, Andrew Huberman explains how “dopamine is a currency that we use to track our subjective feelings of success and wellbeing” and that “chronically spiking dopamine will undermine motivation and drive.” 

If you announce your plans, you can trigger enough dopamine to make you feel accomplished without following through.

But is there a difference between action and motion? James Clear, author of “Atomic Habits,” reminds us that taking action should be differentiated from ‘being in motion.’ Any of us can spin our wheels and ‘do things’ that don’t actually get us anywhere, much less get us where we want to go.

What are the right actions to achieve the result we’re after? To take action effectively, we should keep in mind some key goal-setting, planning, and motivation tips.

There is a difference between seeking feedback about a project versus just seeking validation about the idea for a dopamine kick.

In the startup world, feedback is crucial to see which ideas people lean towards to ensure you’re going in the right direction. Making a prototype or MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is doing and showing vs. just telling.

You might be wondering, how exactly do I do this? Here’s it boiled down to the basic steps:

  1. Stop talking – The fewer people that know, the better. Your later results should speak for themselves.
  2. Start planning – Doing actions without intentions is pointless. Taking the time to sit down and plan can save a lot of time and energy.
  3. Set goals – Plans change, but keeping the big picture in mind will help maintain motivation and keep things moving along. (I’ll go more into this soon.)
  4. Start doing – “Put your money where your mouth is.” You can write out plans all you want, but you have to take the initial step into action.
  5. Feel the success and keep moving – The best way to stay motivated is by seeing your work pay off. Momentum builds up.

Don’t get me wrong, this is still a concept I struggle with myself. I have so many great ideas and concepts I want to bring to fruition, but don’t always have the bandwidth or capacity to get it done.

I’ve been working on writing and filming the Grumpy Bear Film, which is a bigger task and more involved than I initially thought. Even though I’m not finished yet, I’m excited to see the final product and can see all the steps of planning and action I’ve been taking are paying off.

See you next week.