Practice more, plan less

The best is the enemy of good.

That’s what Voltaire once wrote.

This can also be viewed, with the addition of a slightly different perspective, as the difference between motion and action. They sound very similar, but the two words are miles apart.

Motion is what we refer to when we plan things. It is good and it can also be effective, but the downside of motion is the lack of results. Being in motion is being in an ever results delaying moment.

Action, on the other hand, is the type of behaviour that produces outcome. If I lay down five ideas for an article, that is motion. If I actually start writing one, that is action.

Sometimes, motion is useful. Not in an outcome producing sense, but it is needed nonetheless. Having a plan for getting into shape or a solid sales strategy for your business are of paramount importance. But failure to execute is such a common mistake, that it makes me often think about the naivety of those responsible for executing, despite the common knowledge of the difference between the two concepts.

If being in motion does not lead to results, one is but forgiven for asking: why do we do it?

And more often than not, we comply in motion because it allows us to feel like we are making progress without running the risk of failure. Humans are great at avoiding criticism, indulging in comfort and choosing immediate rewards over long-term sacrifices.

You do not want to be merely planning. You want to be practicing. You want to start with doing via repetition, not perfection.

Repetition is a powerful word. It hides an even more powerful one, consistency. Consistency in taking action the same way every time has been biologically proven to improve cell-to-cell signalling in your brain and to tighten the neural connections (this has been first described by neuropsychologist Donald Hebb in 1949, and the phenomenon is now commonly known as Hebb’s Law).

Building a habit (including taking action over something) requires consistency. It has more to do with frequency than the time you put in.

Being in motion is valuable up to a certain threshold. But taking action is of utmost importance for the outcome.

The most effective way of learning and getting results is not planning, but practice.