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Just Do It: Why These Words Mean So Much

Just Do It: Why These Words Mean So Much

Ever come to a major decision point and felt small considering magnitude of things? I know the feeling. At this point, I tap into some inner strength to push on through, sometimes against the tide of reason and expectation. I find it useful not to think too deeply. That’s good for the ‘how to’ questions of life. I go with my internal compass. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase ‘Just Do It’ being thrown around in moments of indecision and uncertainty. Up until writing this, I’ve never had to reflect on why that’s the case. Let me deconstruct its meaning for decision-making and translate it on a personal level, through my own experiences.


Firstly, I find the phrase Just Do It cancels out noise by giving us a set mind. This clarity helps us mute answers to the wrong questions. Questions that deter us from taking bold and necessary decisions. They include: What if I fail; Am I asking too much; How will key stakeholders react? Noise – in this context – is anything that compromises one’s clarity of direction. Major decisions need but one question to be answered affirmatively. If it costs me everything, would it still be worth it? This very question implies that every worthy aspiration is justified by weighing uncertain benefits against certain costs and hoping for the best. They push us into the unknown.

In recent time, I’ve had the opportunity to be part of an innovative team bringing a new educational qualification into the Australian market. I asked myself some hard questions. I sought clarity. As an accounting professional this choice didn’t seem to align with my career. If this rational thought process had informed my decision I may have had a different outlook on things. But I’ve always been interested in education, learning and knowledge sharing. More so on how delivery models can be re-invented to make them more relevant and robust in a dynamic marketplace. It has been an amazing learning opportunity for me. Ironically, an education in itself. And while I may not know precisely how I will leverage what I’ve learned in future, I know it is a step in the right direction. Looking back – albeit amidst many questions and much uncertainty – I don’t view this as a departure from my domain, but rather an expansion of it. That’s typically what bold decisions do for us, they expand our horizons.

Inspires Courage

Moving on, Just do It is a phrase that resonates Courage for most of us. Anyone who is ever going to find themselves must find this virtue first. Courage is an enabler for doing the things in life that will positively define you, both great and seemingly small. Courage is audacious, not to be mistaken for aggressive. It’s what you reach for (or develop) when it’s time to follow through on a major decision. Fortunately, like a muscle, it can be built. I used to run a 2.5-kilometre course (1.6 miles) 3-4 times a week. When I started a few months back, I hadn’t done anything physical in years. I needed two rest breaks on day one. By day three – and with something of a herculean effort – I could run it on a stretch. The difference between day one and day three is that I had pushed beyond my comfort zone. What seemed a daunting task became ordinary. Courage gives you and I permission to defy odds and rise above notions that once held us back. The result – simply put – growth. While failure may be a real possibility, it’s a necessary expense towards growth.

Pre-empts Overthinking

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The last thing I’ve learned from this phrase is not to overthink things. An error I’m particularly prone to. I’ve learned to stop thinking and just start doing. There’s a good reason why doers are more sought after than thinkers in most organisations. Doers make things happened. They talk big and dream bigger. There’s no limit to their aspirations which may range from industry-disrupting innovations to presidential office. Remember, the most important lessons you’ll need in life are learned in experience and not in thought. Thinking does have its place. It’s essential for breaking down a big dream into manageable bits. The risk is that through a process called ‘Analysis Paralysis’ your thoughts – if permitted – could well steal your dreams.

I hope you got something out of reading this. It’s one I’ll probably re-read whenever I come to a major decision point.

Please do share your thoughts.

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