Jack leapt up for the fifteenth time, his jaw snapping into empty air. He readjusted and jumped again. He has been trying to get to the treat that his guardian had held up for him. It was a little bit out of reach. However, Jack being Jack, does not give up. He barks at it. He took a few steps back to allow him to include a few steps to generate power before take-off. He looked around for a step to reduce the distance between his jump and his treat. Though he had not succeeded yet, he still tried. Finally, he did something he had not done before and leapt right into his guardian at waist level. His guardian was not expecting it and dropped the treat to break his own fall. Jack immediately grabbed the falling treat. Result!!
Jack tried all sorts to obtain his treat. None of the initial methods was working until it finally did. The key point was that he persisted and did not give up. He took Massive Imperfect Action until he received his desired outcome, the tasty treat!
Consider any goal that you have achieved that was not straightforward or easy. Was your first (few) attempt(s) successful? Consider a goal that was seemingly huge that you have not achieved. Did you give up after trying several times? There are some people that think and feel success is meant to be easy. They see those who have succeeded and think, “If they can do it, so can I!” They try it once, twice, or even a few times and when they do not get the desired results, they give up, making the mistake of thinking it was not meant to be.
The problem with success is that successful results are often more documented than the failures that happened before the success. What is also evident in all forms of success, be it in business, relationships, sports, hobbies, or any craft that resulted in mastery is those who have succeeded apart from following conventional methods, they have also tried a lot of unconventional methods. They took Massive Imperfect Action. It is key to understand this term.
Massive – They did not just try once or twice or even several times. They took numerous attempts. They looked at the feedback (or results of their action) and adjusted. If they failed, they adjusted again. They did this multiple times. If they got tired, they rested before attempting it again. In business, if they tried it and it did not work, resulting in loss of revenue, customers, employees, time, it did not matter, they would change their tactic, sale offers, hiring process, improve their efficiency and efficacy and try again. In relationships, if their mannerisms, language, actions did not result in an improvement, they would find out more and adjust to try again another time to see if it works. In sports or a craft they wish to excel in, they will try all ways to get there which will invariably result in failure most of the time. For example, in roller skating, it is not so much that the skater is so good in skating but more of they have discovered many more ways in how NOT to fall down that makes them look so good. They do not give up nor give in.
Imperfect – This is completely opposite from the Perfectionist Syndrome. When they took action, they knew it was not perfect but it did not matter. They just did it anyway. They did not procrastinate wanting the perfect action. They just took action. It is not so much of ‘Aim, aim, aim and fire” but more of “Fire, miss, adjust, fire, miss again, adjust, fire again” and repeat multiple times. They know that half a step is half a step more than before even if it was not a whole step. They acknowledge that perfect timing and situation do not exist. The only difference between a step closer to the success they desire is the matter of taking action, no matter how imperfect, or not taking action at all (or taking the same action) which will surely result in the exact outcome as before, either no or unchanged results. They accept that the result may not be totally what they want but at least, they will be some sort of result because they have taken action, however imperfect they might be.
Action – They did something. They did not just think, talk or discuss it. They took action. There are many who have good ideas but rarely act on them, much less follow them through. They are usually held back by fear or just plain laziness. They practice N.A.T.O. (No Action, Talk Only) instead of NIKE (Just Do It). For those who succeed, they carried out their plan, no matter how daunting or lacking it was. They have no illusion that to receive results, some action must be taken, not just talking or thinking about it. If success was as simple as thinking about it, there would be more successful people around. Yet, there are not. Simply because many stop after producing the great idea and failed to carry them out by taking definitive action. They know what to do but do not do what they know.
So consider your huge goal (I know you have them!) and what are you doing to get closer to them. Are you taking consistent, small steps daily, sometimes tripping and even falling down but always getting yourself up and clambering closer, regardless of how ‘not pretty’ it may look sometimes? Or are you waiting for the right time, when the stars aligned, when it is the easiest and convenient situation to do so where you can take a single magnificent, graceful leap into where you want to go? Which one do you think has a higher chance of success? Which is more realistic and practical? Which one is more possible? Remember that consistent small wins lead to enormous success over time.
Be sure to take plenty of flawed activity to reach your goal. It may look clumsy and unsightly. It may take up a lot of energy. You may fall flat on your face at times. It could be worse. You could be exactly where you are right now. The only impossible journey is the one you never begin. With no progress, there is no growth. With no growth, you are not really living but merely existing. When the truth is that you could be more. If only you took Massive Imperfect Action in your life.
Jack practised M.I.A. and got his treat. What Massive Imperfect Action do you have to take to have what you want?
‘It isn’t confidence that comes first, but taking action. Confidence follows action.’ – Scott Allan