The Art of Becoming

May 2nd, 2017 | By | Category: Commentary

Jeff Hough

By Jeff Hough

This week President Trump stated he thought the job of being president would be easier. I found it humorous that anyone could think being president would be easy. Then I came across a statement by John F. Kennedy which caused me to rethink my position. Kennedy said that he wished he had spent more time learning to be president than campaigning to be president.

Therein lies an interesting dichotomy. Do you pursue something with minimal knowledge, or do you spend hours preparing before starting? While the answer may seem obvious, it lies somewhere in between.

An argument against the research-and-prepare approach is it could delay or hinder your starting something. With the amount of information available, it is easy to become afflicted with analysis paralysis, which occurs when you feel like you need more data to make a decision. Because there is so much data, you become afraid to make a move without the latest bit of information.

When asked what makes a good leader in battle, Retired Army General Stanly McCrystal answered that it is someone who can make decisions. He cited analysis paralysis as a problem with leadership today because too many leaders don’t make a move without a thorough analysis of all available data. While some analysis is important and necessary, becoming bogged down in detail minutiae is bad.

The argument for running off and starting something is simple; you are beginning to move. Movement drives progress. It moves you off center. President Trump is going through the best thing that movement causes—discovery.

Even though you do all the research and lay out all the plans, nothing prepares you for the reality of the task. It is the day-in and day-out grind without an instruction manual that shocks the system and causes you to question what you have begun. The fear of discovery causes many people not to start, even after completing the research.

I caught myself in that trap a while ago. I wanted to learn a new skill, so I did the research and made some false steps towards starting. I would get the necessary part for the project, then go back and watch another video or read another article.

I began to feel like the research was moving me towards the completion of the project. Yet, after a couple of weeks of “working” on the skill, I realized I hadn’t moved at all. I had a workbench full of tools, but had done nothing.

The key to success is actually moving. As much as that sounds like common sense, moving wasn’t as easy as I thought. I had to walk mentally past the fear of making a mistake or thinking I wasn’t prepared. That is when the cool things started to happen.

I met with a good friend who reminded me of a valuable lesson. You are in control of your destiny. The only thing holding you back from achieving anything, is yourself. It doesn’t matter where you are from or what your background is, you can do it.

Regardless of politics, you should admire an individual who had an idea and made it happen, especially on the world’s biggest stage. It is unlikely that you or I would ever face the challenges and roadblocks President Trump faced. Yet he did it and is learning something new with the whole world watching. That is intimidating.

That is the blueprint for success. Grab an idea, learn enough to get moving in the right direction, then go. Don’t delay. Adapt and overcome, because you can.

Jeff Hough is a business author, blogger and speaker in Pocatello.

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