Knowing vs. Doing

There’s a long list of things you know would improve your career, business, health, or whatever. Whether you actually do them is the difference between a life of greatness and one of mediocrity

You know that Big Important Thing you want (and maybe desperately need) to do? Maybe it’s changing careers, or writing a book, or saving for retirement, or finally building the dream home you’ve talked about for years. Ever wondered why you can’t seem to just get it done?

Your excuse might be that you don’t know enough to make it happen. That’s bull, says Brian Moran. Your failure to meet your goals has nothing to do with what you do or don’t know—and everything to do with how well you execute.

“People say knowledge is power but it absolutely isn’t,” says Moran, co-author along with Michael Lennington of the New York Times best seller The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months (Wiley, 2013, ISBN: 978-1-1185092-3-4, $23.00).

Execution is. Despite our $60 billion diet and fitness industry, 65 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. The fact is, most people know how to get in shape—eat better, exercise more—they just don’t do it.

“You can be smart and have access to lots of information and great ideas; you can be well connected, work hard, and have lots of natural talent, but in the end, you have to execute,” he adds. “Execution is the single greatest differentiator between great lives and mediocre ones.”

Moran says most people have the capacity to double or triple their income just by consistently applying what they already know. Despite this, we continue to chase new ideas thinking the next one is the one that will magically make it all come together—when what we really need to do is apply the Nike slogan to our lives.

So why don’t we just do it? Moran says you’re dropping the “execution ball” for the same reason companies can’t meet their goals: You’re thinking about time in the wrong way.

“We tend to think we have all the time in the world,” says Moran. “Let’s say you have a baby and you have all these vague notions about saving for college. Well, before you know it, he’s 12 years old and you don’t have a penny saved. Quite simply, we don’t do what doesn’t seem urgent.”

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