Action Trumps Planning Every Time by Josh Hinds

Lest the title of this article lead you to think I’m totally discounting the role that planning plays in the overall success equation, I do want to point out that I’m not against planning. Rather, in most cases it’s the order in which most people set out on the path towards achieving their given endeavors which I believe deserves reconsidering.

Have I totally confused you?

Stick with me and I believe things will be clearer in just a moment.

Most people follow a path similar to the one listed below when setting out in the direction of whatever worthwhile endeavor happens to be occupying their mind at the moment.

1. The initial idea comes to mind. They decide they want to pursue whatever it is.

2. They set-out about planning and thinking about ways to accomplish whatever it is that they’ve deemed worthy of pursuing (starting to sound familiar?).

3. During the regular planning process generally one of two things begins to happen…

A. They begin to believe that by following the plan they’ve formulated they have a good chance of reaching success. From there they move forward working their plan.


B. Self-doubt begins to kick in and before they know it, they’re literally swimming in all the reasons why whatever it was that what once held promise in their mind is now suddenly something that they couldn’t possibly achieve. At this point most folks can just about hang it up, unless they’ve got someone, or they’ve developed the mindset necessary to overcome this “stinking thinking” and get their line of thought more along the lines of option A.

Fortunately, there’s another option to consider. Which is actually something I feel pretty strong about — that no matter what conventional wisdom may tell us — there’s always another way, even if it’s not always obvious.

So if that’s true, what’s the other way I can hear you asking…

Rather than taking the approach most folks choose to take…

Which is basically a Ready, Aim, Fire approach towards getting things done (i.e. achieving ones intended goals and dreams). Instead I suggest adopting the Ready, Fire, Aim approach.

The difference you ask? Look at it like this…

In the first example: Ready = your initial decision or commitment that you want to pursue something worthwhile in the first place. Aim = the planning phase of things. I won’t rehash it as we covered it in depth above. And Fire = the action which you take which ultimately becomes the difference between whether or not you get started in the first place. On it’s surface this first option is fine. In fact It has been proven to work just fine for many people.

Yet, I’m convinced the second option of… Ready, Fire, Aim would work even better.

Why? Let’s look at it like this.

You make the commitment to pursue whatever it is you’re committed to accomplishing. But rather than running the chance of letting loose that part of each of us which wants to convince us why we can’t do something, we bypass it almost completely. Instead, we lead with some real action. That is to say, we get real, honest to goodness buy-in on whatever it is we happen to be pursuing. We’re in the game so to speak.

Of course, the last step is important too, because after we’ve gotten started by taking action, we take Aim — that is we do plan. To some this might sound silly, but think of it like this. Our planning is in alignment with the importance of making corrections. Have you ever heard someone say, “what’s the definition of insanity? It’s doing the same thing over and over again.”

On a more serious note, that’s why the system I’m suggesting is Ready, Fire, Aim — and not just Ready, Fire, Fire, Fire, Fire — you get the idea don’t you? 🙂 Because it is possible that in taking action first, even though taking action early on is a good thing, it is possible that the action we have chosen is well — wrong. That being the case I will say that the same end result can happen to our friends who made the choice to go the ready, aim, fire route.

You see, just because they made the choice to plan every thing out to the best of their ability prior to kicking into gear, certainly doesn’t guaranty that they’re not going to end up taking wrong actions anyway.

The big difference of course is that you and I, by making a point to lead with action, and at the same time giving ourselves the wiggle room to learn from any wrong turns we make — inevitably end up achieving in our given endeavors far quicker than those who chose to take the more common ready, aim, fire approach.

While there are any number of reasons which could lend proof to what I’m saying, about the best I can come up with is that when we set out with a sincere willingness to follow a  worthwhile goal, and are truly willing to learn whatever is required of us in order to reach the pinnacle of success in our particular undertaking, those people, events, and yes skills which are necessary show up.

There’s a saying I bet you’ve heard before — it says, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” To the best of my thinking that is very much why “Ready, Fire, Aim” — gets results.

In virtually every one of life’s adventures the person who makes a choice to lead first with action, even if initially it’s little more than a sincere willingness to take action and move forward (provided they commit to learn what’s necessary along the way) will be better off than their counterparts who choose to run the risk of getting stuck in the planning phase of things.

In summary, I want to make it very, very clear that I’m not saying that planning in and of itself is the problem, rather it is the fact that most people either plan to the point that they never get started in the first place, or they allow the fear of actually doing what is necessary to get in the way — knowing they would be that much better off had they simply made the choice to step out into the unknown and gotten started sooner rather than later.

As you give thought to what you’ve just read, consider the following quote, “the doing of a thing makes it so” — throughout your day look for times when you can repeat that simple phrase and gain strength from it.

It’s your life, LIVE BIG! Josh Hinds 🙂

* Josh is the author of Why Perfect Timing is a Myth: Tips for Staying Inspired and Motivated Day in and Day out! and It’s Your Life, LIVE BIG!