I just finished reading a very interesting book. The books name is Total Competition; it’s a book about strategy in Formula One. If you are not familiar with Formula One then I can tell you it’s the top class of motor racing, the absolute elite. There was more to the book than just that though…
I grew up liking cars and racing. I remember having a toy of a red Ferrari Formula One car driven by Nigel Mansell, one of the greats in the sport. And I just loved all things with four wheels. But before the sentimental orchestra violins start playing let’s gets back to the book. It’s basically an interview with a man called Ross Brawn, who is an overly successful team leader and strategist in racing. I love reading stories about people who are very good at what they do. It is inspiring, no matter what field really. There are a few pretentious bits in the book, like “the art of war”, where they talk about Sunzi; an old Chinese text about military strategy. Slightly cringeworthy. I mean, in the end of the day it’s about sports.
A couple of things that stick out when I read about people like these are the way they use their time and how they get organized. More often than not it’s not even about being the smartest, the best educated, or even the most suited to be very good at something. It’s simpler than that. It is about who wants it the most. I think people can be better suited for this and that, but if you don’t want it enough, someone else is ready to go the extra mile. Even millimetre; and that’s no joke. Mindset is what it’s all about and ever will be. You’ll be surprised by how much people talk about what they want but just let time pass. There is a little bit of that in all of us; I wouldn’t be able to sit here and write about it if I hadn’t been there myself! So if you talk about something and don’t follow through, it must mean you are a liar? Let’s stop lying to each other!
I have noticed in my own situation that it’s all about getting going. The smallest step forward is still a step forward. I have never been interested in talkers – people who say a lot but have nothing to bring forward. Instead I admire the people who take action. I learned a valuable lesson a few years ago; it’s probably about ten years ago now. I was speaking to an old boss about doing go-karting. He pushed me to take the first step, he told me, ‘you keep talking about it but why aren’t you doing it? It must mean you don’t really want to?’ That really hit home. My mind was challenged. I was almost offended even. But he meant no harm, it was just a logical comment from his side. So after that I took action an
d bought my first go-kart and had an absolute blast the next coming years. I bought a proper race go-kart and learned a lot about the whole racing world. I’ll leave that story for now and try and get back to it in another post.
Since that moment I have been very careful about what I say to people. Unless I have a real action plan I won’t talk about what’s going on. I’m sure my boss can’t remember a word of that conversation. If he only knew what it meant to me!
This is the way I work, it might not be suitable for the way you do stuff, or the way forward for you. But I am an action guy – getting something done (in my case) means taking the first step, however small it may be. And to keep the momentum going. So, in the words of Elvis: “A little less conversation, a little more action, please.”
Song of the day: Little Mix – Weird People