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Opening Arguments

Just get on and do it

How to succeed like Richard Branson:

Branson doesn’t merely say things like, “Screw it, just get on and do it.” He actually lives his life that way. He drops out of school and starts a business. He signs the Sex Pistols to his record label when everyone else says they are too controversial. He charters a plane when he doesn’t have the money.

When everyone else balks or comes up with a good reason for why the time isn’t right, Branson gets started.

[. . .]

Branson is an extreme example, but we could all learn something from his approach.

If you want to summarize the habits of successful people into one phrase, it’s this: successful people start before they feel ready.

[. . .]

Branson has started so many businesses, ventures, charities, and expeditions that it’s simply not possible for him to have felt prepared, qualified, and ready to start all of them. In fact, it’s unlikely that he was qualified or prepared to start any of them.

[. . .]

If you’re working on something important, then you’ll never feel ready. A side effect of doing challenging work is that you’re pulled by excitement and pushed by confusion at the same time.

You’re bound to feel uncertain, unprepared, and unqualified. But let me assure you of this: what you have right now is enough. You can plan, delay, and revise all you want, but trust me, what you have now is enough to start.

It doesn't matter if you're trying to start a business, lose weight, write a book, or achieve any number of goals... who you are, what you have, and what you know right now is good enough to get going.

I don't know if that reaches the level of profound insight, but based just on my own life, I think it's true. The times when I just went ahead and did something, whether I felt ready or not, my efforts were generallymore successful than when I plotted and planned and fretted and sweated. Often, the more I analyzed and mapped out careful details, the lesss sure I felt, and the project or plan just kind of drifted away and never got done.

Governments are great at planning and waiting until the time is right and all the potential pluses and minuses have been calculated. And despite all that fussing, government projects almost always take longer than planned, cost a lot more than estimated, get far more complicated than anyone imagined and have unintended consequences that make things worse instead of better.