taking action

It doesn’t matter if you have a genius IQ and a PhD in Quantum Physics, you can’t change anything or make any sort of real-world progress without taking action. There’s a huge difference between knowing how to do something and actually doing it. Knowledge and intelligence are both useless without action. It’s as simple as that.

Successful people know that a good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed someday. They don’t wait for the “right time” or the “right day” or the “right (impossible) circumstances”, because they know these reactions are based on a fear and nothing more. They take action here and now, today – because that’s where real progress happens.

Angel Chernoff

It's all about the long term

If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people. But if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people, because very few (people) are willing to do that. Just by lengthening the time horizon, you can engage in endeavors that you could never otherwise pursue. At Amazon we like things to work in five to seven years. We’re willing to plant seeds, let them grow—and we’re very stubborn. We say we’re stubborn on vision and flexible on details. In some cases, things are inevitable. The hard part is that you don’t know how long it might take, but you know it will happen if you’re patient enough. So you can do these things with conviction if you are long-term-oriented and patient.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder

PS: The title of this post comes from the title of the first shareholders letter Bezos' sent in 1997.

Immediate Living

Consider the difference between the person who has been toiling in the hot sun and is desperately thirsty and the wine connoisseur who wants to sample a new pinot noir from California. Both have a desire to drink something liquid, but the resemblance ends there. There desire of the first person is rooted in the raw structure of the body, which needs and craves water. No reflection or education is needed to have such a desire. In order to appreciate the difference between a pinot noir and a cabernet sauvignon, However, it may be necessary to have a cultivated taste, with an imaginative grasp of the vocabulary used to describe the subtle “notes” of the wines. The person who simply wants to get drunk every night as well as the person who prides himself on his refined and elegant taste in wine… are focused solely on the satisfaction of the desires the person happens to have and are thus in one sense “immediate.”

A person may know a great deal about ethical theory without having much in the way of ethical character. It is possible, then, for a person to be well-developed intellectually but existentially not developed at all, and therefore still immediate.

C. Steven Evans, Kierkegaard: An Introduction