#017 DO


In the SDNT sequence, D = DO

Knowing is not enough. We must apply. Willing is not enough. We must do.    – Bruce Lee

We should do more, and talk less.   – Deng Xiaoping

If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called research.    – Albert Einstein


In science, you DO an experiment not because you know what will happen but in order to SEE what will happen.

Outside science, there is often a reluctance to do an experiment in case it doesn’t work. But no idea is of any real value until it gets used. If an idea never gets used, why even know about it?

There’s a huge gap between knowing and doing. I have called this gap – The Impossible Barrier – and written at length about this in NewSell. The reason for this is because, so often, knowing something prevents doing it. We have something repeated to us and we say ‘Yes, I already know that!’ and we turn our attention away. Yet it is the repetition of things we already know that gets us closer to actually doing it. It has been said that too often the knowers are not the doers and the doers are not the knowers.

One of the reasons that the global climate change programs have been delayed and slowed down (at great cost to the next few generations) is because the focus has shifted from the doers to the talkers. The focus has moved away from the scientists, technologists and problem-solvers to the politicians, media and the chatterati.

We need to get into action. Once we move from thought into action we immediately create feedback. Our actions have consequences and it is these consequences that enable us to evaluate the effectiveness of our behaviour. Thinking is not an escape from action it is simply the basis for it. When in doubt, do something.



You may already have noticed that the recurring themes running through this book are ESCAPE and MOVEMENT. To the thinker, a creative approach to life means a questioning approach.

I was a kid that was always asking, ‘Why, why, why?’ I think I’m even worse now. It constantly challenges me to find out more, so I improve and continue to improve. – Ian Thorpe, Olympic Champion and Sports Thinker.

The skilled thinker, the thinker of action, is a skilled questioner. Who? What? When? Where? How? Why? Why? Why? The only silly question is the question you don’t ask.

But what is a question?

According to Rochelle Myers, who ran the famous Stamford University Graduate School of Management course, Creativity in Business, questions are the following:

A question is an opening to creation.

A question is an unsettled and unsettling issue.

A question is an invitation to creativity.

A question is a beginning of adventure.

A question is a seductive foreplay.

A question pokes and prods what has not yet been poked and prodded.

A question is a point of departure. A question wants a playmate.

If you can develop your questioning skills you will immediately begin to expand your options, you will have more alternatives.

You will also generate extra possibilities, you will have more choices. All these things will lead you into action, to DO things. Your new questioning skills will enable you to become less of a knower and more of a doer. You will annoy authorities and astound your friends. This alone, can be a good enough reason to ask more questions.

In the 1980s my friend and agent, Leslie Buckland, was President of Caribiner Inc in New York, the world’s largest producer of big business meetings. Leslie often used to say, ‘If something is worth doing it’s worth doing badly’. Why? Doesn’t this seem a contradiction for a man who was known internationally for setting the high standards of quality in big business meetings?

A Caribiner production team could go into a hotel ballroom anywhere in the world, turn it into a circus or a theatre in 24 hours, stage, for one performance only, the business equivalent of a Broadway show – original music, dancers, actors, fireworks – and then strike the set leaving it as they found it 24 hours later.

They staged multi-million dollar productions all over the world for companies like IBM, McDonald’s, and Mercedes-Benz where quality was the absolute key. Yet Les often said, ‘If something is worth doing it’s worth doing badly’.  Why?

This is the paradox of action, of decision- making, of getting things done. The mistakephobiacs are so afraid of doing something badly they get nothing done at all!

‘Our doubts’, said William Shakespeare, ‘are traitors and make us lose the good we might win by fearing to attempt’.

Very often there’s no ‘right way’ to do things. Les, and other people of action, like trauma surgeons or astronauts, know that one has to get started and do something, get the process moving otherwise you’ll just get overtaken by the unfolding of circumstances.

Even if you make a mistake or do it badly, get going. You can always change things, make adjustments and corrections. That’s what computers and robots do. You can make it work and make it work well, but first you have to get it up and running.

Bad can always be changed to good. Sitting back and waiting for perfection often means inertia and failure. For an experiment (that is, to try out and see what happens) try asking questions like these:

•  How does this company make a profit?

•  Why does this shop close at 6pm?

•  When you swim, how do you breathe?

•  Why was my request refused?

•  Can I have a money-back guarantee? Why not?

•. Can I work longer hours?

•  Why shouldn’t I be with someone I enjoy?

•  What’s so good about always being busy?

• What are my skills?

•. What is missing here? What else?

•  What is your authority? Why?

•  How are board members selected? Who determines the directors on the board?

•  How was this decision made? Why?

•  Why is this rule necessary? Can it be improved?

•  Am I needed here?

• How can this be more fun?


Your DFQ #017:

What do I DO now?

How can you get into action?

DO something and post your results.

384 thoughts on “#017 DO

  1. Picking up from my earlier list I have signed up to online fitness classes and had my first Pilates session on Friday at 07:00. Great start to the day and felt I had broken through my procrastination with regard to getting back into a daily exercise regime during lock down.

  2. What I am going to do right now is read.
    What I am going to do next is to write three future scenarios and fill them with colour and detail. Then I will allow me to live in each one as a “just suppose’ until I know them well.
    What I am going to do by the end of next month is make some decisions.
    But now I am going to finish the book I am reading…

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