I love making plans. Seriously. I stay up late dreaming up ideas. Then I wake up in the morning (or try to) and continue my planning. I have dozens of notebooks in Evernote filled with ideas.
Let’s take a peek at a few of them:
Cologne Scented Sunscreen
Solid Idea. 2 birds, 1 stone. Honestly, why has no one done this yet?
Guitar Fretboard Car Seatbelt Cover
You plug it into your stereo and it makes actual sound. This would revolutionize the way you mime along to your favorite songs. (Note: due to potential legal issues, this would not be available until self-driving cars are standard)
And my billion dollar idea…
Subscription-Based Luxury Bathroom Chain
Imagine a chain that’s as common as Starbucks, but it’s just a really nice bathroom. You gotta do your business, so you drive to the closest one, and there’s a British butler waiting for you. “Hello, I’ve reserved the Roosevelt room for you, right this way.” You’re getting excited about this idea, and I haven’t even told you the name of the place:
“Ellington’s: a place to go.”
I’ve also got plenty of less ridiculous music related ideas. What if I arranged this song like this? What if I practiced a different instrument than my main one every day? What if I acquired a new musical skill?
All of these things have one thing in common: they’re just ideas. Have I actually made cologne scented sunscreen? No. Do I practice a new instrument regularly? Not at all. Is Ellington’s a reality? It breaks my heart to say no, it’s not. (yet)
You see, my nature is to be the guy on the side of pool, lightly dipping my toe in. I want to know exactly what I’m getting into before I get wet. How cold is the water? How deep is the deep-end? How many other people are in the pool? Am I going to be able to swim??!?
I love making plans. It makes me feel secure. Knowing every possible outcome of every possible scenario gives me comfort before diving into something, and it prevents me from making mistakes. It makes me feel like I’m actually doing it. But it also prevents me from lots of great opportunities. While I’m on the side making plans, the pool is filled with people having a great time, swimming, splashing, and shooting each other with those water cannon things.
Making plans to swim and be the best swimmer ever is not the same as actually swimming. Too often, I have been afraid to fully jump into the pool. I’d rather stay on the side and make plans. If left to my own devices, I would never actually jump in and get swimming.
Granted, there absolutely is value in some planning. It’s important to know how to swim. You have to be good at something before completely diving in. If you’re not great at something in music, you shouldn’t dive into the deep end and quit your job to do music full time. But at the same time don’t get stuck on the side of the pool “making plans” and “thinking up ideas.” You’ll be stuck there forever.
Yes, it would be cool learn a new music skill, or play more live gigs, or start producing, or teach, or get better at Jazz. So stop spending your time planning, standing next to the pool, getting your toe wet, and start diving in. I think you’ll be surprised that not only is the water not that cold, but there’s plenty of other people in the pool that will make sure you don’t drown.
You can’t learn to swim if you never dive in.
Here’s my question to you: what thing have you been making plans for that you’re going to start on this week?