Have you ever been in a conversation where the person to whom you're speaking is trying to explain their aspirations? Usually, they use words like, "I'd like to," "I want to," "It'd be great if," and so on. When I hear these phrases, it makes me cringe--because I know what comes next.
Wanting to do something is very different from actually doing something. People who aspire to success certainly mean well, but rarely does a person with such a mindset actually go anywhere. That's what separates what Mark Cuban would call "wantrepreneurs" from actual entrepreneurs: One wants to do, while the other simply does.
I was recently reminded of this all-important lesson by Brandon Webb, a New York Times bestselling author, former Navy SEAL, and all-around badass. He has a real-world degree in tenacity and knows a thing or two about achieving success.
I previewed his new book, Total Focus, and one concept stuck out as the core reason why anyone achieves success--or, on the flip side, the one reason most people fail.
Webb calls his strategy "violence of action."
"The term 'violence' in this context doesn't mean busting people up or tearing around breaking things," Webb explains in his book. Instead, he writes, "Violence refers to the velocity of action," which is "not just fast action, but directed fast action."
That kind of rapid action gave Webb and his SEAL team the edge in assault operations, and has been the secret to scaling his media company, Hurricane Media Group, from one blog to a multimillion-dollar worldwide media and ecommerce company focusing on outdoor, military entertainment, news, and clubs.
I can personally attest to his strategy in my own life. Depressed as hell over what I'd achieved by the time I turned 30, I turned to violence of action myself--although I didn't know it had a name at the time. I started doing a wide variety of projects that I vaguely thought might help me get to where I was trying to go, and I did them at a breakneck velocity.
Eventually, that rapid action led to some of my projects speeding ahead more than others. In turn, I was able to focus on the winners and ditch the losers--and before I knew it, I was well on my way to achieving my biggest goals by essentially taking the path of least resistance that revealed itself to me.
"General George Patton put it this way," Webb writes in his book. "A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week."
Here are a few ways that you can capitalize on violence of action in your own life and business, from a Navy SEAL's perspective:
1. Take the shot.
"In business, here in the civilian world," Webb writes, "I see people trapped in bad jobs they hate, careers they're unhappy with. They know what to do but fail to take action."
If that's you, ask yourself what would happen if you were on the battlefield, and failed to take action. (Hint: You'd probably fail the mission, and put lives at risk.)
Then, take the shot.
2. Make action your default mode.
Webb admits, "There are times when the smart thing to do is to wait and watch." However, that shouldn't stop you from making action your default mode--where, "given a range of options, your first choice is to act rather than sit back."
This strategy works because most people have a bias for doing absolutely nothing. Webb writes that just by "having a bias for action, you have an automatic edge over everyone else in the field." I myself have experienced this time and time again.
3. Create action-focused work habits.
"If I look through your bedroom and poke around your kitchen," Webb explains, "I don't need to see your financials, because I already have a pretty good idea of what kind of shape your business is in."
"The smallest mundane details of your life will add up to your success--or failure--on the largest scale," Webb warns, which is also a sentiment that is echoed throughout the interviews in Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. Your habits will absolutely make or break your success, so why not build a habit of taking action every day?
If all else fails, you can always use violence of action to, as Webb writes, "pour in like a tidal wave, kick open a door, toss in a flashbang (stun grenade), and have everyone in the room zip-tied and blinded by a hood over the head."
But if you aren't quite sure if that will land your next big deal, remember the method behind it, and never be afraid to embrace violence of action.
The success of your business--and your life--are very much at stake.