Cafe Witness

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The 10% Action

In the new media space, as in life, the main rule is that we DO something. Sitting around and thinking or talking is a necessary part of gathering and processing information, but that information is fruitless without actions to test the theories.

But no one wants to act while unmotivated. Taking action without a clear plan of attack means you have fewer ways to evaluate whether or not that action was the best possible action at the time. No one wants to "waste time" on a losing action when, with a little more planning, they could have discerned which action was the "winning action."


Before attending college, I was mentally and socially adrift for a couple years. I needed time to "figure things out." What I was really doing was trying to decide what the BEST course of action would be.

Meanwhile, I was getting frustrated because all of my friends were making their way through college and onward toward the working world, whereas I was stuck running in place.

I voiced these concerns to a friend one night. He understood my point of view, but he couldn't rationalize it in his head the way I could.

"So what you're saying," he said," is that you COULD do four or five different things, but you don't know which one is the RIGHT one, so you're not going to do ANY of them?"

"Not yet," I clarified.

"What's the worst that could happen if you choose any of them?"

"I waste time on the wrong path."

"And how is that different from what you're doing now?"

He had a point.

The 100% Value of the 10% Action

So: how do you know when an action is the RIGHT action?

You don't.

ALL actions are the right action.

By taking action -- ANY action -- you're gaining experience. Even if it's only 10% of the experience you COULD have had if you'd settled upon a different action, it's still 10% MORE than you gain by not taking any action at all.

And if, by taking the 10% action, you realize that the 100% action was the "right" action all along... wasn't it worth taking the 10% action to verify your hunch?

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  • Good stuff, Justin.

    I'm in that boat now. Thanks for the boot in the rear.


    By Anonymous Scott, at 1:34 PM  

  • Including knowing when not to act.

    Nice post.

    By Blogger Christopher, at 4:31 PM  

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