Just do it – A message for entrepreneurs at heart

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Joanne Tan encourages entrepreneurs to just do it and learn from doing, without fears, complacency, or waiting for perfect confidence for building startups or living a full life, citing Steve Jobs and Elon Musk as examples.

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“Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction”, said Harry Truman.

In Alice in Wonderland, the Red Queen tells Alice: “In my kingdom, you have to run as fast as you can just to stay in the same place.”

Did Steve Jobs know exactly everything about computers and Iphones before he took action to turn his vision into reality? Remember he never knew how to code or program, and never bothered to learn since it was irrelevant to his job: A visionary leader with a laser focus on customer experience and design over engineering. 

Before most people decided to get married, many wrestled with self doubt, fear, and uncertainty. Some chickened out, but many just went with their gut, love (and lust too), and just did it.  Same goes with going through a divorce. Personally, I have been through the fears and doubts in getting married and getting divorced.  Neither turned out to be as scary as my mind had made it out to be. (By the way, I am still good friends with my ex.) 

I was afraid of injection needles as a little girl. It took me many years to train myself NOT to give in to my mind’s exaggerated fear of being “stabbed” by a “sword”, but only a pinch by a small needle. It was neither the end of my life, nor the end of the world.

In life as in entrepreneurship, we all must learn to subdue our exaggerated inner fear, conjured up by your overactive mind.  If you want to develop a career involving AI, you don’t need to wait until you’ve taken all the AI courses to have the confidence to do something with AI.  Earning a PhD is not a necessary prerequisite for calling yourself an “expert” in anything. Confidence and courage do not come from Ivy League degrees. The more you do it, the more confidence you have. Just thinking or dreaming about it does not generate confidence.

All you need is the desire to do it, and just do it. 

What I mean by “desire” here is not impulse, or being reckless, but a strong calling to pursue your passion or conviction. You learn from doing it. And your world expands, your life is richly lived, no matter the outcome.  A rich life comes from having adventures, from just doing it (after planning as much as you can, of course), and learning while doing it.

Steve Jobs did not know the extent of the impact of unleashing the genie out of the first I-phone.  He did it anyway.

No one knows where AI is leading us, not Sam Altman, not Elon Musk. No one knows enough, and no one will ever know enough.

So if we don’t let fear or complacency stay in the way, we learn as we do, whether it is pursuing one’s passion, creating a startup, starting or ending a marriage, going to Mars, running for office, scaling a company, building your brand, or living your life to its fullest extent …

“Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction”. JUST. DO. IT.

(By the way, I don’t wear Nike.)


© Joanne Z. Tan   All rights reserved.


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