Posted in General, Management, People, Productivity

Doing vs Thinking

I am part of a raft of people who are going to contribute towards a book that will be published soon (with all proceeds to Variety, the charity). The topic I have chosen to write on is: The difference between thinking & doing. (I will tell you more about that very soon…)

And dear readers & lurking friends – I would TRULY appreciate your thoughts via the comments below. Please?

My initial thoughts are… (and please feel free to agree/disagree):

The difference between thinking and doing is… many millions of dollars. Even if money does not motivate you as a measure of reward, you could not argue the efficacy of money as a performance metric.

It is no coincidence that DO and THINK do not have even one letter of the alphabet in common – because they have nothing in common. Thinking is a mental activity and doing is a physical one – even in the cerebral world of Tech and the new age economy.

For the paradox of doing is that the more you contemplate doing, the less actually gets done. Understanding doing and doers does nothing but enrich your understanding of doing without doing anything about it. Thinking is a great diversion; it cloaks itself in the aura of respectability associated with intelligence. Thinking is confused with smartness. And smarts. Thinking is seductive and attractive for the better you become at it the more proficient you become at exploring yet another avenue… of thought. Thinking leads to naught but more thought.

The main question is and remains: why is doing so hard? More particularly, why is it so hard to switch from thinking to doing?

  • Doing is simple; therefore unattractive.
  • Doing is definitive; therefore it is a harsh judge of your efforts.
  • Doing is public; therefore a failure is public and failure is measured by other people’s judgement (as well as and as much as your own.)

For the greatest enemy of doing, is that thinking produces powerful reasons why not doing something NOW is a great thought.

What do you think?

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One thought on “Doing vs Thinking

  1. Hi Dennis,I think that your bullet points are on the money, but since you asked so nicely I am going to suggest another one to add to your list that is closely aligned with your second and third points, but perhaps brings a slightly different perspective. My obstacle to “doing” is the need to commit to the goal.The point is that once you set out to achieve a goal, you either give up, or you succeed. Giving up isn’t that attractive to most people, and worthwhile goals take some time. In the interim, who knows what great opportunities may fall your way? The most exciting opportunity to ever come your way might be just around the corner, and you’re going to be too busy to take it up. There are no such problems with thinking. One brings the thoughts to a satisfyingly neat conclusion, puts the thoughts to one side, and follows the new line of interest.The other point I’d make is that based on what I’ve read, society is just more risk averse than it was a century ago. I’ve heard it said that Roosevelt’s New Deal, Keynesian economic policy in the UK and democratic socialism in Europe have all contributed to a general decline in our society’s appetite for risk. (Btw, not this kind of risk: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/697149/man_mountain_wingsuit/ )This is a more complicated line to argue, because “not doing” could be a risky path, if there is a known risk on the horizon and inaction might tend to make that risk more severe, or more likely. But then, there’s comfort in familiarity, isn’t there.And then there’s plain laziness….Cheers,P.

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