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Stop Asking, Start Doing

_patrickgod profile image Patrick God Updated on ・4 min read

You have lots and lots of ideas and wonder what would happen if you would start implementing them into your life? It’s not only about software development, but also about ideas for your life, such as meditating, a morning routine, working out or starting a new side project (okay, you got me, this would be something development related).

I have noticed that when I have such ideas, I almost always ask other people what they think about it. Similar to market research, I ask friends and family what they think about going to the gym or becoming better at cooking. And at some point I wonder why the hell do I ask other people for permission to do something new or different in my life? This is crazy! It’s not that I want to create a new product and first have to test whether there is an audience I can sell it to. Most of the time it’s about things that could make my life better.

Perhaps you can identify with the following. In the past I had many ideas for new products or projects or even new habits I wanted to include into my daily life. Sometimes I even started implementing these ideas but it wouldn’t take long and I stopped again. I did not really commit to these things. But why?

When you ask others for their opinion in the beginning, they might just tell you what you want to hear, namely that your ideas sound great. But often you won’t get real support, and that’s totally okay! It doesn’t matter what other people think of your ideas. Think of all the great innovators in history and from our time. Elon Musk did not care what others thought about his idea of changing the world. Now he builds electric cars and rockets. Rockets!

So try out new stuff. Test your ideas. By my own experience I can say, sometimes things work out quite nicely. One day I posted an idea for a Windows 8 app on codeproject.com. The result? They liked it and sent me a laptop as reward.

We do have success with our ideas from time to time. But why do we still stop doing stuff?

I think it’s about acknowledgement. People don’t acknowledge or appreciate our work. And since we seem to be dependent on it and want other people to tell us that our ideas and our work is great, we stop with our work as soon as they don’t do it anymore.

Try not to give a damn about what people say about your ideas or your work. You have to test them yourself, look at the results and draw the right conclusions. All too often we stop or do not even start with projects, because “the others say that it is not worthwhile or stupid. I don’t know why people would say that, but most of the time it’s not because they have the experience to judge the success of your intentions. I know this is a mean claim, but sometimes people don’t want you to be successful because they don’t feel successful themselves, and that’s why they try to pull you down – even if it’s just subconscious.

So please keep on creating and implementing your ideas. And most importantly: be consistent. Only if you stick to your plan and don’t give up after the first weeks or even months, you will know if you’re on the right track.

Another aspect that might hold you back is fear. You’re simply afraid of the results. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re afraid of failing. Sometimes we are afraid of success. That may sound strange, but it’s true. What happens if your new product rocks and you’re building an audience or a community around it? What happens if you’re working out regularly and you’re looking better and better?

Well, on the one hand, there may be more work coming to you. Maybe some work you feel like doing, though. On the other hand, people could become jealous of you. Maybe even friends who turn away from you.

In these cases, it’s helpful to take responsibility for your own decisions. Hold on to them and believe in yourself. Then the opinions of others won’t affect you and you can easily pursue the things you love and want to do.

This post was originally published on programmergoals.com


But wait, there’s more!

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Patrick God

@_patrickgod

Into code as long as I can remember. First games, then web, now both. Located in the sweet Taunus-region in Germany. Always eager to learn, create and teach something new.

Discussion

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Try not to give a damn about what people say about your ideas or your work. You have to test them yourself, look at the results and draw the right conclusions. All too often we stop or do not even start with projects, because “the others” say that it is not worthwhile or stupid.
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So please keep on creating and implementing your ideas. And most importantly: be consistent. Only if you stick to your plan and don’t give up after the first weeks or even months, you will know if you’re on the right track.

So true. It's also one of the most difficult parts of pursuing any project or idea. You have to ignore distractions & naysayers while simultaneously looking for the critical feedback you need to let you know if you're on the right track. Programmers rely on certainty & clarity, and that's really hard to get sometimes in the advice of others.

I agree with your advice to stop thinking & start doing. That really is the key to getting over the hump. Taking action is the only way you're going to figure any of this out.

Over time, I've learned that lack of action can cause even more anxiety than just getting started. Why? Because all the time spent visualizing every potential outcome and feeling those reactions doesn't move the needle. Nothing happened, you're still just sitting there.

Good stuff Patrick! Thanks for sharing with us.

 

That is exactly what this article was about. Instead of thinking and asking if I should post it, I just did. And it seems to fit the opinions of some people. Thank you very much for your comment, Ross. That's great additional advice. :)

I definitely agree with you. Worst part is, that nothing happens because of all the visualizing and that this situation indeed does cause anxiety or even stress. As Elon Musk put it, not the action causes stress, the absence of action does.

 

I agree with you, Patrick. I try to follow these rules:

  1. I've got an idea - excellent.
  2. I'd like to think about it, to talk about it, to ask about it - not bad.
  3. I spent decent time on asking/thinking/talking - good.
  4. Now, and this is important, stop asking, start implementing.
  5. Finish it and see the result.
  6. If it feels like you can't start or will not finish it - so don't waste your time, through this idea away.
 

Hey Andrei,

Thanks, looks like a good checklist.
I think the magic lies in step 3. Try not to spent too much time in asking/thinking/talking but rather start implementing earlier. In my own experience I stopped there too often because I couldn't get out of the "thinking and talking about an idea"-trap. ;)

Take care,
Patrick