My friend, Cal, spent the whole holiday season selling Christmas trees on a windy corner in Queens, NY. The weeks dragged by as he dickered with stern, Eastern Europeans over the price of Fraser Firs and Blue Spruces. The days were brutal and long with no prospects of Thanksgiving or Christmas roadtrips to see siblings and nephews. At the low spot of the season – five days before Christmas, he complained, “The problem with the short end of the stick is there’s so damned much of it to go around.” He was ready to quit and walk away from the whole mess – but he managed to see it through till the end.
Here’s a solution for short end of the stick syndrome:
Done is the Engine of More.
After the crappy year we’ve all had, this seems like a great anthem for the new decade. It comes from a fascinating blog post by Bre Pettis in collaboration with Kio Stark. The post, entitled “the Cult of Done Manifesto“, is filled with 13 arguments for action. Here are three of my favorites:
#4 – Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.
Every project I do has things in it that baffle me. Sometimes I pay so much attention to the things I don’t know that it keeps me from doing the things I know how to do! Steady daily progress is the best strategy for getting through the sticking points of a project.
#9 – People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
My cubicle mate at work has an interesting observation about meetings. “People come with empty yellow pads and leave with empty yellow pads. In the middle, they fill the air with reasons why the project can’t be done.” Dirty hands means you believe. Dirty hands shows which side you’re on.
#13 – Done is the engine of more.
This is obviously my favorite. It’s like
- Damn the Torpedos
- Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition
- I now pronounce you man and wife
all rolled into one. Six little words that have already gotten me through a couple tough spots – and it’s only the first week of the year! In the words of my old drill sergeant, “C’mon ladies, time to make it happen.” Cult of Done – here I come.