Action is all that matters.

April 22, 2020

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the future.

Not the future as a whole. My future. What do I want to be doing in 10 years? What are some of my long-term goals? What’s the point of doing all of this? What should I be writing about?

I enjoy writing, and many people have enjoyed my writing. Until now, it has been a mixed bag of technical content, “self-help” content, and documenting my journey as a solo SaaS founder.

But I can’t help but wonder what my writing would look like if restricted down to a subset of expert content. Writing about something I am exceptionally good at, mixed with research and support from other texts.

This is how most non-fiction books are made. If you read any book on habits, productivity, systems, etc. you’ll find the author’s highly refined opinions mixed with references to other people who have said similar things.

This is all great, and I do plan on being in a position to write something like that some day, but what should I be writing now?

This is where I get into trouble. I get in a mode where I focus on what I should be writing about, instead of doing things worth writing about.

And that’s the whole point of this post. Execution is the only thing that matters.

Execution matters. Action matters. Wisdom (applied knowledge) matters.

Without execution, there’s no experience. Without experience, you can’t be an expert. Without experience, I can’t write informed content that helps people.

It’s easy to get caught up thinking about what you should be writing. When in fact, the only approach is to think about what you are doing that inspires and directs your writing.

And maybe that’s the problem. I haven’t been doing as much lately. I’ve been in operator mode. I haven’t been building for the future. I’ve been maintaining what I have created in the past.

This is fine. It’s a good minimum. I’m still quite busy and it’s satisfying work.

But without forward progress I am at a loss for what I should write, and ultimately at a loss for what the future will look like.

When I am truly executing, building, growing, I get a sense for what the next step is.

When I am just maintaining, the next step is out of reach. There is no next step without me taking action.

What does execution look like?

It’s taking steps toward a concrete goal. Building systems and pieces to a puzzle that drives growth toward the things you strive for.

It’s building products, helping others, practicing skills, gaining experience, documenting what you’ve learned. It’s taking risks, and risking your time by spending it on things that might work.

It’s not consumption. It’s not watching TV, entertainment, or other media. It’s not sitting on your hands.

Obviously you cant and shouldn’t execute 24/7. That’s not humanly possible, and that’s not the point of this post. There are other things that matter in life.

But, when it comes to direction, purpose, helping others, and moving forward in life, execution is the only thing that matters.

When you have lots of experience doing something, and you’ve reached an expert level, it’s not hard to understand what your purpose is, or what the next step should be.

But when you are floundering at the bottom of the food chain, not building skills or anything valuable, it’s really hard to see what the future could look like.

And yes, you will build things that flop. You will build things you hate. You will build things that will waste your time.

I can guarantee you won’t regret building those things. You would regret not building.

Everything you do can be a learning experience, if you are pushing yourself to do things you’ve never done before. That’s the way to approach execution. Always building. Always learning. Always growing.

And so, that’s what I will be writing about. Probably for the next 20 years or so. Until I have enough experience to have informed opinions about how other people should do stuff.