Preparation Or Action?

Are you ready?

A few months ago I read this book, “The Wealthy Speaker,” by Jane Atkinson. It’s a guide to becoming a motivational speaker, and she goes into such things as how to prepare a media kit, how to get in touch with speaking agencies, and really all of the parts of being a speaker.

One thing she talks about is the “Ready, Aim, Fire” method of performance. Essentially she says there should be three steps to doing anything: Ready, which is preparation, Aim, which is figuring out how to implement what you’ve prepared, and Fire, which is the implementation of what you have been working on.

It brings up an interesting question that has been floating around a few of my posts recently: how do you decide which is better, preparation or action? Both are helpful, of course, but how do you know when to take what you’ve prepared and get it out to people?

It’s more complicated than it may seem. Preparation allows you to produce the best content, product, or service you can. The more time you spend preparing, the better and better you and your project will become. The problem is that I just called it a “project,” because that’s all it is in the preparation phase. And to make matters worse, at some point, the amount of time or effort you pour into something, the less and less value gets added per time spent. For example, if Apple had pushed the iPhone 6 release back another 6 months, could they have made improvements? Of course, but in that time, the advances wouldn’t have been noteworthy…think about patches and bug fixes. Those are basically proof that they didn’t overspend time in preparation. You have to take action to make something more than project.

But of course, the reverse is also true. If you put a product or service out before it’s “ready,” it might be a total flop, and your name or your company’s name might get a bad reputation. Interestingly, I think the same is true for blog posts on here! Also noteworthy is the idea that you’ll learn as you go along. If you rush into something you’re not ready for, you will learn from the experience. I would argue that you learn more from making mistakes than you do from preparing for them.

So maybe there is a sweet spot…maybe there’s some way of knowing when you’re ready to move from the preparation phase to the action phase. How do you decide?

This post will also be featured on Be sure to head over there to see more great stuff, and contact Jacob to submit articles! He’s building a community of positive people to motivate each other and others.



I’ve been rereading “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill…I think it’s 5th time I’ve read it (yep, it’s that good!). One of the things I got fixated on this time was the importance of stubbornness, when to apply it, and when to let things go.

For those of you who don’t know,Napoleon Hill was approached by Andrew Carnegie with the idea for the book: research and interview the most successful people of all time, find commonalities among them, and figure out which personality traits, habits, ideas, and thoughts led them to be successful. Great concept.

He’s talking about how Henry Ford would come to a decision quickly, but then be very slow to change his mind. He asked his research team to create an engine block out of a single piece of metal, and they said it was impossible. He said, “do it anyway.” They continued to work on it, and after six months, they said it was still impossible. Ford told them it didn’t matter if it was impossible, they should continue to focus on doing it. It was over a year before the research team was able to do it and Ford was able to implement the revolutionary engine block that saved both time and money.

He was stubborn about his idea for over a year, pouring money into the research even though the people doing the research said it was impossible. The point is, everything takes time. If you’re looking to make a change in your life, be it weight loss or running your own business, it’s going to take time. Probably a lot of it. You have to be stubborn enough to wait out that period of time and continue to focus on your goal.

You might be asking, “well, what if the thing I’m being stubborn about is wrong, and it isn’t going to work out? Won’t I be wasting my time then?” No. An emphatic “no.” As long as that thing toward which you’re working is a worthy goal in your mind, it isn’t a waste of time for two reasons. The first is that, if nothing else, it is a learning period. You will gain knowledge and experience that you can use for the rest of your life. That’s never wasted time. And the second reason is that you can make anything work. I won’t say nothing is impossible, but I will say impossible is nothing. We overcome impossible on a daily basis.

If there’s something you really want, then grit your teeth, clench your fists and go get it. Persistence and diligence can make anything work. Just be stubborn. Know in your head that what you’re doing will work, and it will.

This post will also be featured on Be sure to head over there to see more great stuff, and contact Jacob to submit articles! He’s building a community of positive people to motivate each other and others.

Defining Success: I Think You’ll Agree


First off, I’d like to thank those of you who have been following by book reading and have been consuming knowledge alongside me. I’m thankful for every single one of you! For those of you who aren’t, check out previous favorites here, or email me at to find out what I’m reading, what I suggest, or to shoot ideas around about one of the books (also open to suggestions!).

That being said, I’m currently reading “Civilization & Its Discontents,” by Sigmund Freud, and I kept coming back to this quote: “Success is never certain; it depends on the co-operation of many factors, perhaps on none more than the capacity of the mental constitution to adapt itself to the outer world and then utilize this last for obtaining pleasure.”

Freud prefaces this by mentioning that there are a few different types of people: those who will choose emotional relationships over anything else, those who are more “self-sufficient, [who] will seek his essential satisfactions in the inner workings of his own soul,” and the type who “will never abandon the external world in which he can assay his power.” Maybe you need to read this in order to fully understand, as it is deeply philosophical, but I’m going to do my best.

I wanted to talk about the second and third types, because doing so will settle an argument I’ve been having with myself. The second type, which searches for inward happiness, is no better or worse at perceiving reality. They simply have their individual perceptions, which may be delusions, but it doesn’t matter because that is their reality. So, being content with what you have and searching for happiness inside of yourself is great…but all it really means is that you are coping with the outside world.

This second person who never “abandons  the external world” does the same thing…he or she perceives reality, but chooses to believe that their power lies in staying focused in that external world and not retreating. For this person, it is just as inward as searching for inward peace and happiness, but the manifestation of that searching is external rather than internal.

And so, after all of this philosophical rambling, success is the ability to perceive and respond to the world outside of yourself. Doesn’t seem like much of a realization, but it is! I’ve been saying all along that the #1 key to success is the ability to change things based on your perception; anything negative can be spun around and made beneficial, and the people who learn to do that are the most successful. And Freud’s work has served as a means of explaining that in terms of the difference between inward and outward happiness and success.

After reading this passage…probably about a hundred times, I’ve realized that maybe there are simply differences between people that we don’t realize normally. I’ve been having debates with people over whether happiness and success can only be found in complacency (being happy with what you have and not needing more) or progression (still could be happy with what you have, but constantly push yourself to get better and to become a better person).

For those of you who read through this post, thank you, haha. I know it must have been rough. If this doesn’t make sense, please let me know! I feel like this is an important realization for me, so I’m sure it would be for you as well.

Reading For Success

I’ve had a few people ask me for book recommendations, and I have a short list here of books I highly recommend. These are the best of the best in my opinion, and I would say each one of these is a must-read. You should watch this video to hear why I think devoting all this time to reading is worth the time and effort, and why it’s one of the best investments you can make. Reading only one book, as long as it’s the right one for you, can make a drastic change in your life, and the more you read the more likely you are to find an idea that will make that change. So here goes…my top five book recommendations:

5) Civilization and its Discontents – Sigmund Freud

Civilization and its Discontents

If you see Freud’s name and think, “no way, that guy’s crazy,” take a second to reconsider. His theories might be a little against the normative when it comes to psychoanalysis, but this book largely discusses man’s connection to the world and a possible purpose, especially in relation to the way we go about finding happiness. This is philosophy, not psychology, and a lot of the ideas here will be pivotal to your search for happiness and success.

Buy this book on Amazon  (Here is a different copy that is half the price, but independently published)

You can get this for FREE with this free trial of Audible from Amazon

I’m currently working on notes for this book

4) Blue Ocean Strategy – W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne

Blue Ocean Strategy

This is really a book that is geared more towards the entrepreneur, but I think the ideas in here could be applied to several different areas of life. If you are starting or running your own business, working toward growing a following online, or doing anything that involves competition in business, it is imperative that you read this book. The idea are so simple and will seem obvious to you after reading them, but they’re ideas and practices that most people never put into action. It’s not about eliminating competition, it’s about rendering them unimportant.

Buy this book on Amazon          You can get this for FREE with this free trial of Audible from Amazon

3) Managing Oneself – Peter Drucker

Managing Oneself

This was actually an article that appeared in Harvard Business Review, so it’s a very quick read…but it’s worth every penny you spend on getting it into your hands. I wish I had been handed this book when I graduated high school, or even undergrad. Drucker talks in depth about learning how you learn as an individual, and applying that to your life. He also discusses how you need to learn how you work most efficiently and happily, and using those methods throughout your life as well.

Buy this book on Amazon          Buy my notes on this book

You can get this for FREE with this free trial of Audible from Amazon

2) Grinding It Out – Ray Kroc

Grinding It Out

This one is changer. Ray Kroc, the man who built McDonalds into the empire it is today, the man who pioneered the fast-food industry, tells all about how he did it. Aside from being a really interesting narrative, this book is full of a wealth of knowledge and ideas that you can and should apply to your life, success, and happiness. You’ll see that perseverance and determination trump all else…you’ll be inspired, definitely, but more importantly, you’ll have a better idea of how you can get where you want to go.

Buy this book on Amazon          Buy my notes on this book

Hear me talk about one idea in this book          Read a post of mine about another idea in this book

1) The Lessons of History – Will & Ariel Durant

Lessons of History

This is the #1 book I recommend to most people with whom I speak. It’s an incredible look into what it means to be human, into what makes us think and act the way we do, and a commentary on mankind as a whole as opposed to an individualistic approach. The lessons we learn throughout the book are directly applicable to success, happiness, instinct, and, in a lot of ways, learning to connect to who you are as a human being and how you function under that title. This is somewhat similar to “Managing Oneself,” but it offers a more holistic view of human nature, and is deeply philosophical.

Buy this book on Amazon          Buy my notes on this book

You can get this for FREE with this free trial of Audible from Amazon

I have a few videos on this book. You can find them on my YouTube channel.

So that’s it, my top five book recommendations. I really would suggest these to everyone, because they all make you think about life, success, happiness, and human nature. Fascinating books. And four of the five you can get for free with a free trial of Amazon Audible…definitely worth it! I hope you enjoy them.

Success by Day – Knowledge & Mentors (Paradise Lost)

You’ve heard me talk about Paradise Lost before…Milton was a genius, so there are so many ideas and theories to talk about in his work. This is one of the most relevant, probably: the idea of consuming knowledge and experience. That’s what I’m all about! Enjoy 🙂

P.S. Tomorrow I’ll have that list I promised of the top books I recommend for learning and expanding your mind. I’ve gone through a lot of “stinkers” to find the best of the best 🙂

Risk Is Happiness

Grinding It Out

I just recently finished reading “Grinding It Out,” the story of the making of McDonalds, by Ray Kroc. I have to start off by saying that YOU HAVE TO READ THIS! I suggest books that I read that I find interesting, but I really think this one should be required reading for everyone. Seriously…it’s worth the $8. Go to Amazon and buy it right now.

Something Ray mentions toward the end of the book is that happiness can only come as a result of overcoming risk. He says we should take risks in our career, because the sense of achievement we get after we overcome risk is what really brings us happiness.

I wondered about this…and maybe this is why people who take “safe,” 9-5 jobs that they don’t have passion for is what makes them largely unhappy, because they took no risk and there is no sense of achievement. It makes sense. When you take a risk, you feel worthy of the outcome. Also, if you put yourself into a position where you have to succeed, you will. If there are no other options, you have to take the only one available. Burn the ships!

What do you think about this? Do you think our ability to overcome risk and to turn it into achievement is ultimately what makes us happy? It makes sense…we are naturally drawn toward progression, and overcoming difficulty and risk is one of the best ways to progress!

I would really like to stress that you need to read this book. I don’t say that about many books (just three actually…I think I might do a post about my top recommended books, so stay tuned!). You can also pick up a copy of my notes on this book right here. Use coupon code “freeplease” to get those for free! A thank you for reading my blog 🙂