Monday, August 30, 2010

Talkers and Doers

Get Rich Slowly posted a fantastic article on the difference between Talkers and Doers that mirrors many of my own ideas. Essentially people, especially those new to productivity ideas, tend to fall into a "talker" group rather than the "doer" group. The Talkers know what they need to do, even tell their friends what they need to do, but never actually do it. Some go as far as giving advice to others on how to do things that they themselves aren't actually doing. The Doers take their own advice and actually accomplish what they set out to do (or learn from the journey and update their end goals)

Derek Sivers dives deeper into the Talker mentality and gives a wonderful, short presentation on why talking about your goals is actually detrimental to completing them:

By telling others about their goals, the Talker receives the satisfaction of "completing" the goal without actually doing it. They tell a friend they have decided to lose 50 lbs and everyone congratulates them on it before they even start losing weight. They then may begin the process of losing weight but after a few weeks give up because (well, one reason) mentally they've already received the kudos from those around them; a satisfaction usually reserved to those who have actually completed their goals. (my recommendation: post to your goals to a blog, receiving comments on a post is a lot different than verbal congratulations, and the persistent and public nature of the blog should inspire you to keep going)

Get Rich Slowly also breaks down the steps to convert yourself from a Talker to a Doer:
  • Make time for the things you want to do. One of the keys to getting things done is setting aside time for the things you want to accomplish. You have to make time to get stuff done. As the Kevin J. Anderson article I mentioned above demonstrates, you don’t just become a best-selling author or an Olympic athlete. Talking doesn’t make it so. You have to carve out time to do this stuff. You have to put your Big Rocks first and fit the small stuff in around them.
  • Have a goal in mind. I truly believe that the biggest reason I used to struggle with getting stuff done is that I didn’t have any sort of plan. I had no goals. Goals give you purpose. It wasn’t until I became committed to digging out of debt that I was able to actually start moving in the right direction. Part of my current problem is that I’ve recently achieved a bunch of big goals, but now have nothing planned for the future.
  • Don’t take on too much. While it’s important to set goals, don’t take on too many tasks at once. I try to set just one or two major goals at a time. Any more and I find I can’t pursue any of them effectively. This year, my one goal is to lose 50 pounds. I’m on pace to do that. Why? Because I don’t have anything else on my schedule competing for time. This is my Big Rock.
  • Don’t let failures deter you. This is huge. One of the reasons I used to talk so much without acting is that I was afraid of failure. I’m not sure where I learned to be afraid of defeat, but that’s the way I was. And when I did try something but failed, I’d give up. This is no way to get stuff done. Talkers let fear of failure keep them on the sideline; Doers overcome fear and move on, and when they fail, they simply try again.
  • Don’t find reasons that something can’t be done; instead, find ways that something can be done. This is a pet peeve of mine. I hate when people come to me for advice, but when I give it, they tell me all of the reasons it won’t work for their circumstances. (This often happens when I suggest people take a second job to boost their income, for example.) One of the biggest difference between successful people and those who aren’t is that the successful don’t make excuses. If something looks difficult or impossible, they find ways to make it happen anyhow.
So the next time you set out to do something, ask yourself if you want to be a Talker or a Doer and then go out and conquer (but possibly keep it to yourself)!

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