The other week, I heard a great piece of advice on a podcast in which Brian Clark asked Seth Godin how he writes, and Seth responded in typical Zen-like fashion:
We have this idea that if we ate the same breakfast cereal that Stephen King ate, we'd be able to write like him. It isn't true.
What does uber-blogger and best-selling author Mr. Godin call our obsession with celebrities' and famous authors' creative practices? Stalling.
It made me think of all the areas in my life that I am stalling to do the really hard, important work of creating.
The stall list
- If you need to be writing a book and instead write a blog post, you are stalling.
- If want to live your dream and spend your day sending out resumes, you're stalling.
- If you are called to lead and wait to make a decision, you are stalling.
- If you obsess over your blog stats, you're stalling.
- If you call a meeting only to schedule another meeting, you are stalling (and killing the productivity of your entire team).
- If you spend two hours having coffee to talk about creativity, you're probably stalling.
- If you go to a conference to hear something you already know, you're stalling.
- If you're “mulling it over” or “weighing my options,” admit it: these are stall tactics.
- If you begin a tough conversation with false pleasantries (e.g. “With all due respect…”), you are stalling.
- If you ask for a second opinion or wait for more information, you're most likely delaying the inevitable — doing something.
- If you often say, “I dunno… what do you wanna do?” you're still stalling. (My wife hates it when I do this.)
- If you're “just checking in” on social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), you are stalling.
- If you're taking multiple bathroom breaks in an hour, you're stalling (or you've got an infection).
I hate stalling. And I do it all the time. It's time to stop stalling and start creating.
Decide. Make a difference. Act now. We don't need you next week. We need your heart — your passion, your pathos, your love — today.
We can't afford to wait. You can't, either. Consider the opportunity cost of stalling. Is it really worth it?
So… what's on your stall list? Share in the comments.