The phrase was drawn from a phrase I mentioned in an episode of Infinite Loops I did with Jim O’Shaughnessy. Jim introduced the phrase, “Think less, do more,” and said:
When I was a younger person, I was not that person. I was [more like], “Keep thinking about it, keep thinking about it, keep thinking.” I just got all caught up in my head. I’ve always been a writer, luckily. I’ve kept journals since I was 18. As I was getting ready and going through your stuff… This line just brought me back, like that’s qualia, the idea that until we can understand what that taste or that smell brings back, and it just evoked a period in my life, where I changed.
It was when I started my first company. I was procrastinating and procrastinating on what I called, “the case statement.” I was very academic wannabe, and it was horribly written. Anyway, I finally just was kind of like, “You know what? !@#$ it, I’m just gonna launch this company. Let’s see what happens. A lot of life is that way, isn’t it?
My response was:
I think that one of the paradoxes, or the most strange things to experience is, you only know how to do something after you’ve done it. If you keep waiting around, figuring out how you’re going to do it, you’re just gonna be waiting forever.
Actually, to your point about, “Think less, do more…” I remember hearing my fiancée say it to me once and I was like, “Whoa, that was really powerful.” It resonated.
It’s one of those truths that you just can’t hear often enough, because a lot of times we get stuck in our own heads, especially as the years go on. We start doing more important things. Each thing feels like there are higher stakes involved. We’re like, “Oh, I can’t afford to just wing it anymore…”
In a way, everyone’s just winging it. We’re all just kind of rolling with it. Things are changing, increasingly fast. New constraints come up all the time. We need to learn how to tap into our spontaneity and our creativity in order to be able to adapt to these changes.
It was a pleasure to talk to Jim about it, and also to see Cierra and the team at Gapingvoid elaborate on the topic with some great references.
I really appreciated Hugh MacLeod’s book, Ignore Everybody, as well—and it was great to see the beautiful imagery accompanying the post.