I often get asked this question – If I want to be successful, how much should I think about it? and when should I get into action?
Think a lot. Henry Ford famously said – “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”
But don’t just stop at thinking, you will need to act as well. Success will never come to you if you only think. Success will never come to you if you only act.
Let me explain…
Many people just jump into action. They have no strategy. No clear goal. No plan. To them, I would say – Action without strategy is the noise before failure.
Alfred Hitchcock was famous for his zeal in planning out his movies. Every single scene, every line of dialogue, every entrance and exit, every pause, every transition was meticulously planned out way before he hit the sets. Every single person knew exactly what their role was and precisely how Hitchcock wanted it executed.
Filming the movie was like an afterthought for him. In his head, it was already done. Every single movie he made was brilliant. He knows exactly what he wants to show the audience, and when, and what reaction they will have… and so, he leads them on through a grisly plot of alarming twists and turns, eventually to a satisfying – Oh My God!! I never saw that coming… and yet thinking, there couldn’t possibly be a better way to end this movie.
While Hitchcock is an extreme example of planning and I wouldn’t expect everyone to follow his way of doing things… it’s worth a ponder.
Here are 5 benefits of conscientious planning –
1. You are clear about your goals
This itself is a biggie. It’s impossible to get to where you want to be, when you have no idea where you are going. If you don’t have goals, how will you know you have achieved something.
Some wise person rightly said – “That which can be measured, gets done!”
2. You have a road-map to follow
Don’t stop just at clearly stating your goals. Create an actionable schedule. This will allow you to figure out what resources in terms of time, money and effort you are going to need to allocate to that goal. When you create a schedule and step back and look at it, you could even revaluate whether you want to actually do it or not… whether this is worth it… or if you need to rethink your priorities.
3. You avoid making costly mistakes
When there is little to no planning, then tremendous amounts of hard work could be rendered useless. You put in great effort to come up with something that’s truly brilliant and when you find out that this is kind of useless for the bigger goal, you feel dejected. And sometimes a lot of time can be wasted feeling dejected. It’s a double whammy – your time and effort is wasted, and on top of that you are feeling pathetic. And so are not productive, which takes up even more time.
4. You make better use of your time and resources
The resources we have at our disposal are always limited. Even the wealthiest person on the planet still has just 24 hours in a day. A clear actionable plan will ensure frugality and therefore even greater success.
5. You increase the chances of success
Quite obviously you may fail. Even the most well put together plans can go to custard.
In WWII, highly sophisticated armoured tanks were secretly stationed outside some key defence areas by the Germans. There was no way the allies could have broken through this barricade… but they did, almost effortlessly. The tanks had been in the fields, battle ready for a few months before the allies reached to engage with them. The engineers who had created these tanks had not taken into account a small detail – field mice. These little critters over the months had merrily eaten away the delicate wiring and rendered the tanks useless. The allies victory surprised even them.
However, when you read stories like this, know that these are one off… wild improbable possibilities that somehow managed fruition. Good planning normally will ensure high chances of success… Better planning takes into account the probability of failure. The best of plans will have all this, and leave in room for spontaneity.
Now, if you are thinking, let me sit and plan out a few things in my life and you start doing that. That’s wonderful. But if you only plan, plan, plan… and never get into action, you have lost the plot.
Strategy without action is just an illusion.
Ideas die as ideas. Dreams remain dreams.
The successful person is the one who thinks, and then acts. Who plans and then executes.
Most importantly, he knows when to stop thinking and start doing. Clear, directed, deliberate, meaningful action can turn dreams into reality real quick!
Tell me in the comments below –
What do you really want in life?
Don’t just say stuff like great health or lots of money – when will you know you have great health? How much is a lot?
When are you going to spend time planning to get it?
I would suggest putting aside the first hour or two of a few days in the week to do this particular exercise.
When will you start acting on that plan?
Sooner rather than later is always better.
All the Best!!
PS To know more about figuring out what it is that you truly want and creating a great plan to achieve it, read our book Sleep Your Way to Success. And if you are one of those who prefer to listen to books instead of reading them… we have you covered. Click this link to get the Audiobook Avatar of our book… Bonus? It’s delightfully