I have good friend who took up playing guitar two years ago, and has even started collecting (he just bought my Gretsch Electromatic off me). He has often shared his learning journey with me and his process, which has been – for lack of a better word – academic. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because implied with an academic approach is a certain amount of discipline, and that’s extremely important in learning just about anything.
But in practically every conversation we’ve had where he’s described to me what he was learning, I’ve always interjected that in the end you just have to “Nike” and “just do it” within the specific context of making music; not composing by any means, but playing songs. After all, why does one learn to play a musical instrument? Certainly not for the mechanics. It’s to make music.
Life in general is like that. There’s a point where you have to apply what you’ve learned or what you’ve planned, or what you’ve envisioned. Several years ago, I heard the saying:
There’s a fine line between dreams and reality, and that’s willingness…
I was inspired by that saying when I first heard it, as I was attending a self-help seminar and the topic at the time was achieving your goals. This was back in the early 90’s when Tony Robbins “Personal Power” was all the rage. I remember it vividly. We spoke about the difference between decision and choice, dreams and reality, and especially the values we each espouse, and how we could apply the concepts to our daily lives to achieve our goals. It was an incredible experience that changed my life forever. And after that seminar, I actually used that saying several times over the years in working with teens and mentoring young professionals.
But a few years ago, I realized that the saying was slightly flawed because with “willingness” you’re still in your head. You’re still just thinking about it. You’re still in that phase of, “Yeah, that’s a great idea, I should do that…” But it’s not until you take action that you’ve physically committed yourself to turning a dream into reality, and experience has taught me that there’s a point where you have to get out of your head, move beyond thinking about doing something and well… DO IT. So I adjusted that saying to this:
The line between dreams and reality is execution…
The “winners” in the world don’t just think. They do.
Whether Type A or Type B, whether hard-charger and seat-of-your-pants or methodical and well-planned; no matter the approach, the people who achieve their goals in life execute. They don’t sit around thinking and talking about what they’re going to do, they do it.
So make like Bo and Just Do It!