If you have a dream, you can spend a lifetime studying, planning, and getting ready for it. What you should be doing is getting started. – Drew Houston
Children, you’ve probably noticed, are fearless.
If you ask a room full of young children to raise their hands if they’re good at singing or drawing, every hand will probably shoot up.
Up to the age of five or six, that is.
After that they start worrying what other people think.
By the ripe old ages of seven and eight they’ve learned about being embarrassed and not being good – they start to learn why they can’t do something.
And this is a problem that lasts, for many, the rest of their lives.
The picture above is adapted from something Robert Kiyosaki said about life being like a football game, which makes a point we would all do well to internalise.
While you’re on the field, even when you reach half-time, there’s lots of time left to go.
Even at three minutes to full time, you’ve still got a chance.
But when the game of life is over, that’s when you’re really out of time.
I’m still working my way through The four: The hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google and I’m not sure it works for me.
There must be points in there somewhere but they’re buried beneath unnecessarily coarse language and hyperbole.
Still, I’m trudging through it – well, skimming really – and in chapter 10 it starts to list success factors.
Factors like work hard, take ownership, look for equity.
A list that is rather banal – a term one of my marketing lecturers used to describe a paper I once turned in – and he was right.
Because really, if you want to be successful what you need to do is produce.
There’s a story somewhere about a pottery teacher who divided his class into two groups.
One group was told to make something every day – anything – as long as they made something for the term.
The other was told to work on their masterpiece – honing their best work for the same period of time.
At the end of the term all the pieces were collected and judged by independent experts.
The pieces that were judged the best all came from the first group – repeated practice over time had resulted in a better set of outputs.
Someone else wrote something interesting about investment.
In case you’ve noticed – I haven’t got the energy to go and research the source of these stories today…
They talked about the importance of the dividend in making your investing decisions.
Now, this is different from the way we normally think.
All too often we think about payback – how long will it be before we get our money back.
What’s more important is the payout you keep getting from that investment.
When you invest in yourself through an education you can get a lifetime of employment.
When you invest in your skills – developing and honing them by producing over time – they start paying you dividends.
As long as you keep producing you can’t help getting better over time.
And eventually the market catches up and values you fairly.
But the key to producing something is getting started – and what matters is not quality but quantity.
The things that hold us back are largely illusory, they disappear if you take a closer look.
There is only one thing that can really stop you.
And until that happens you’ve got all the time in the world.