The “Just Do It” Myth
If you regularly beat yourself up because you continue to do or say things you know, for a fact, are not good for you and don’t serve you — just stop! Don’t beat yourself up, you’re actually being completely normal.
Nothing is wrong, broken or self sabotaging about you. You don’t suck because you’re unable to do the “right” thing, even though you know the right thing to do. If you, like me, heard the saying, to know better is to do better, and decided that something is wrong with you because you know better but you’re not doing better, keep reading and let me share why knowing and doing are not related.
Gaining more information leads to more knowledge; a worthy and beautiful thing in and of itself. Being knowledgeable allows us to be more interesting, smart, and useful to others. We have so much to share, and there are not enough hours in the day to dispense all of the advice. It’s even possible to become known as a “subject matter expert,” if we consume and retain enough information about a specific subject. With that expertise, we can gain respect and legitimacy in other people’s eyes.
So, by all means, gather information and become knowledgeable, but do not assume that knowing something translates into doing something. I was a “knower” for 40 years. To others, I looked like a “doer” because I was always busy. Taking action was not difficult for me. But, taking deliberate and intentional action based on my knowledge of what would serve me was hardly on my to do list. I believed the reason I wasn't taking the right actions was that I didn’t have enough or the right kind of information. I thought if I read just one more book, listened to one more podcast, or attended one more seminar, I would finally be moved to intentional and deliberate action.
As I became smarter (more knowledgeable), I noticed that my actual everyday life was not improving as I expected it would by consuming more information. The road to understanding that transformation was created through small, consistent actions, not more knowledge. The road was a long one for me, and began when I hired a coach, which I did mainly to find out what was wrong with me. I wanted to know why I knew what to do, but just wouldn’t do it. My coach explained the difference between information and transformation. He helped me take small, doable actions that over time, changed the direction of my life, and set me on the path to creating the life that I wanted for myself.
Understanding that doing and knowing are not related was a life-changing insight for me. Understanding that I did not need to learn more allowed me to focus on getting myself the support I needed to do more of the right things. Today, I’m still a voracious consumer of information, not because I believe it will move me to action, but rather it makes me a better coach — and it’s fun!
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