“Do it live”
I had a bit of an epiphany last night. Perhaps it coincided with July 1st being the start of the second half of the year. Perhaps it’s this feeling at the pit of my stomach that I am yet to start working on my new year resolutions. Who knows but by George, it arrived at the right time.
My epiphany is that I need to start “doing things live”. Not waiting for approval from my friends, experts and teachers. Not preparing for weeks and months to understand all the subject matter.
It turns out that life is a not a rehearsal. This is the real deal. Yet, I constantly find myself in a “training camp” mindset — tweaking this and calibrating that — in order to be ready for prime time. I cannot launch an MVP for a startup idea I have without researching every aspect of the industry. I cannot run a half-marathon without training for weeks because that is the right way to do it.
Where does this instinct to prepare and rehearse come from? Perhaps it comes from my meticulous preparation as a student when I was under constant pressure to excel in the myriad of exams one takes from K-College.
Preparation is great but only when you are expected to learn and regurgitate information that already exists. However, when you attempt something new, something unprecedented, preparation is no longer a help but a hindrance. Constantly preparing yourself for your “grand debut” in order not to embarrass yourself might be sound reasoning, but it’s a poor strategy.
In his book Zero to One, Peter Thiel advances the notion that “today’s best practices lead to dead ends; the best paths are new and untried.” In other words, creativity and discovery require constant experimentation through unchartered territory. So when you abandon existing convention in order to launch an innovative startup or write a new blog, you are no longer preparing or rehearsing. You are “doing it live.”
Take for instance this particular article. I have been wanting to publish something on Medium for the last six months but I have not done anything about it because I have not felt ready. To prepare for my “Medium debut” I read all the top stories on this platform religiously — something I have enjoyed very much because there are some talented writers out here. However, my lack of readiness has frozen me in “preparation mode” for the last 180 days. All the wonderful thoughts and perspectives that have occurred to me in the incredible and tumultuous first half of 2015 have fallen by the wayside.
Perfection is a cruel master that demands many hours of preparation. But you cannot prepare for something you have never experienced, or something that has not been created or most importantly for life and it’s serendipity.
By finally writing this article and publishing it, I have fired my perfection master (or rather escaped from his cruel clutches) and resolved to “do it live.”