5 Steps to enable you to Just F*cking Do it
Updated: Sep 30, 2019
How many times have you seen some big brash person (normally a male American if we are honest) say Stop Being Lazy, just do it, JUST FUCKING DO IT ?
A lot I would guess, from books on being more proactive, to Instagram videos of a topless bloke with a 6 pack saying just do it.
As I’m the kind of knobhead who asks why and how a lot I thought I’d try and structure a formula, or perhaps a framework to enable us all to Just Fucking Do It.
Firstly, I do agree with the American bloke with his shirt off who tells us all to do stuff, we all suffer to a degree from fear of failure and paralysis through analysis.
I want to start by saying 2 things:
At some point you are going to have to jump of a metaphorical cliff and learn to fly. This is going to require courage!
We have soo much knowledge in our pocket as a result of smart phones we can spend way too much time ‘researching’ or watching others do what we want to do. A key facet of actually Just Fucking Doing It is not allowing the fact that someone else might have done it stop you. There is nothing original under the sun! So crack on.
We all have something that we want to do, the one thing that we have been putting off or finding excuses or forgetting to schedule. Testing ourselves and taking ourselves out of our comfort zone is normally the point at which we start to delay tasks or finding excuses.
We all struggle with this, even Jocko Willink! The good news is there’s a fairly simple way of ensuring we can JFDI.
However, before we jump into the how? Let’s understand a few common pitfalls that happen when people JFDI without any thought or structure around their action:
‘YOLO’ reasoning – This is commonly used as an excuse for fucking up, generally around booze or drugs or the opposite sex.
The ‘Never Finish syndromed’ – Just starting loads of stuff, either getting distracted or bored and then never bringing that thing to a close. Note it doesn’t have to be successful, but you need to ensure you close what ever you start, or it lingers like a bad smell. I’m guilty of this, to the point that I think I’m still paying for an outlook mailbox for some random idea I JFDI’d without prior thought.
The point I’m trying to make is that JFDI is liberating and a good way of making progress but shouldn’t happen in isolation from any form of planning. Planning that goes slightly beyond reading one blog on ‘How to set up a wordpress blog…?’ or ‘How to day trade like a champion’.
Planning doesn’t have to be ridiculously detailed, in fact planning at this stage should really revolve around one question.
What is my intent? The answer to this one question should form the reasoning behind all the following decisions and investments.
Once you’ve asked yourself that question don’t get bogged down, just write what comes to mind.
This is an important step, because once written down you then have your intent paragraph.
Now before you launch off the JFDI cliff, look at your intent and pick the smallest possible step forward, thus reducing the fall once off the cliff…
Lets work this through:
My pretend intent paragraph:
“I intend to deliver authentic Viking experiences from a traditional Viking building somewhere in the wilds of Wales, I intend to spend my entire time with blue war paint on my body, carrying a sword, eating meat and drinking home brewed alcohol”
So, what could the smallest possible step be towards this intent, crucially it has to actually involve some action that creates a product. Yes, research counts but we need something of substance to show for it at the end, so googling Viking experiences, or buying a sword or just being nosey isn’t enough. Researching and writing or mind mapping what you like, what you think makes the competition successful, that’s a product you can use to inform the next step and future steps.
So have you asked yourself what’s my intent? In reality you can do this in about 1 minute.
Try it now…..
Thinking about your Intent
Mentally write it down
Divide it up into a small first step
Now you can JFDI, get on and do it, stop thinking go and do.
Crucially you are still JFDIing but with a tiny bit of structure. Note that JFDI is all about action, and fast action but not unguided mindless action.
So we’ve covered the bit to get you over the edge of that cliff, well done you’re on your way.
Lets build out that structure a bit.
Crucially we hopefully have avoided the YOLO pitfall and haven’t woken up next to a horrenderpig for example.
To avoid the next pitfall the ‘Never Finished Syndrome’ we need to try and apply a framework to our thoughts and actions.
That framework is cyclical and helps ensure we close out what it is we are about to start.
For example, I once got into fly fishing, I poorly applied JFDI and bought a fancy fly rod, to this day this fly rod is at my parents house and every time I start something my mum will chime in with a sarcastic comment about fly fishing (got to love supportive parents!) as a way of saying ‘here he goes again!’.
My error here was not thinking through to the next step and I failed to do this because I didn’t have a framework to process my thoughts / emotions about fly fishing.
So that’s the value of a framework, it helps structure thoughts at a time when we may be high on good idea juices.
So may I propose a 5 Step Framework the Act, Review, Plan, Adapt, Repeat framework. This could be described as the how bit of JFDI.
Act first, you have an idea, write your intent paragraph and then just start, take a small step forward. 2 things will happen, you will win or lose. This is the crux of Just Fucking Do It, we need to think less at this stage, accept the fact you are doing it and roll with the punches…
You’ve taken that first step, you probably lost, had a bad experience, realised the gym is hard or that your PT is a moron. Or you Won, you fucking loved your first Crossfit class, or got hit on by that hot girl/guy in the yoga pants or sold a load of your widgets at the Sunday market.
It doesn’t matter either way, you need to PAUSE. Think about what happened? Why did it happen that way? And literally define 3 things you will do differently/maintain into the next step. Don’t over think this, if it really sucked, you will need to try and do some fake it till you make it mentality training. Just think positively, smile (science says this works), put your walking like a badass tune on. Do whatever you need to make sure your next step is tackled with a positive mindset. Be a fucking optimist.
As you make your next step, at this point start thinking about the following 2-3 steps. This turns your ill thought out Just Fucking Do It moment into the realistic pursuit of something.
i. Note that at this point you may decide that you’ve had your fun, or achieved your intent, or even that you don’t want to continue for what ever external reason. That’s fine, the plan now is how do you close this activity in the most efficient manner.
If continuing, Repeat the process, once again applying JFDI at certain stages to avoid paralysis through analysis.
Some key enabling advice from me:
Fucking Love what you do! If you like something, you will read about it, chat about it, debate it at 1am in the morning in some shite bar on Borough High street (Sorry to the randomer who got Cyber security 101). So if you want to do something focus on enjoying it, JFDI helps this, it stops you thinking about the what if's? Also you need to accept that the thing you want to do may in itself be painful, like starting in the gym, accept this truth get over it and move forward.
Promote JFDI in those around you and your life suddenly becomes a lot less cluttered: I spend 80% of my work day ignoring those around me, that may sound ignorant, but it’s what I do with the 20% that’s important. Being a military thinker, I have gone to lengths to build my team, give them areas of responsibility that I expect them to operate within, and then give direction/track progress as necessary. This is fucking alien in the civilian world. To the point that I have actively told members of my team to stop asking me if they can send x email or book y meeting. I’m not being mean I’m prompting JFDI, they have to engage their brain put on their big person pants and do their job, not constantly check with me if ‘the adult’ thinks its ok. This all links back to a fear of failure and an unwillingness to put your neck/reputation on the line and is compounded by poor management that can be overly controlling.
Think lots and lots: I feel passionately that we don’t stop, think about stuff and pontificate about random shite enough. We are by our very nature inquisitive creatives, so be inquisitive, ask that ‘stupid’ question take that detour etc.
A special note on Social media, (specifically anything with continuous scrolling walls) as it robs of this thinking time. It fills the whitespace in our day with cheap endorphins. It has a place but just be wary of how you could use your time more productively.
Failure: JFDI doesn’t work if you avoid failure, it works when you focus on your failures, learn from them, adapt and learn. For some reason society has trained us to think failure is bad, its only bad if it’s a repeated failure for the same reasons. I’m now at the point in my civi journey that if my employer is not prepared for me to fail, to give things a go and learn from the result, I’ll probably look to move, and quickly. A good boss gives you the parameters within which to fail, but not cause the business to fail.
The crux of this, I feel, is living a deliberate life. Choosing to act in a certain way and drive your life in the direction you want to go in rather than the way society wants you to go.
So be conscious about your actions, thinking (a lot), act , review , adapt and plan the long term, also know when to say stop. A lot of things in life aren’t forever, so understand the likely life span of the task you are tackling.
What do you want to do? Take that step. Just Fucking Do It!