From Thinking to Doing

How does one effectively transition from thinking to doing? I feel like it’s very easy to come up with myriad examples of things where I want to do something, not just think about it. It may not even be very hard. It ranges from diet and exercise to programming projects, art, writing, finances, self-improvement.

One thing that highlights this perceived lack of doing is age. Especially with YouTube and the Internet making it easy to find individuals who have accomplished quite a bit who are no older than yourself.

I also think that college has made it easy to become a passive consumer of ephemera, without any real motivation to create or do something myself – it’s satisfying, if only temporarily, to scour the internet, do a lot of reading, but never write anything down or comment anywhere.

I’m trying to think about how to shift that in a subtle way – I’ve started following links to people’s personal websites that show the awesome things they’ve accomplished, designed, or painted.  I don’t think I have the creative talent for any of that, but I do think I have something I want to create, so hopefully I’ll start to do that more often.  I’d love to be able to point to something that I’ve done, ideally before I’m 30 (or 25, even!).

For people who spend more time doing than thinking, I have a feeling they just think that the thinkers (or consumers) just need to ‘start doing’ – stop sitting around and whining (or moping, which is even more passive), and get ‘er dun!  I’m not sure it’s that easy, but I’m also not sure what the roadblocks are.  Is it like a chemical reaction, where you’re content at a stable state of lower effort, and it takes a big effort to move you up to the next stable spot?

I’m hoping that my internship this summer will help kick me into a mode of accomplishing things – also, shifting into just Computer Science classes for my Master’s program this coming fall will hopefully help remove my apathy towards reading-type schoolwork (because I won’t have any/much).

My CS advisor asked a very insightful question, about whether I want to build a system which will support others who want to change the world, or if there’s something that I want to change.  I had been operating under the assumption that in order to accomplish the latter, you have to be well versed in the former.  It turns out, that there are other people in the world besides myself, and I can put together a team instead of being competent vertically across all aspects.  So I’ve started to rethink on which I want to be.  Maybe by the time I finish my Master’s, I’ll have done enough thinking and can transition to doing on that part as well.

I would promise to myself to write here more frequently, but I’m afraid that time will show that to be a false promise.  So I’ll state it as a hope instead: I hope to set aside the time to write out my thoughts, here, more often, even if they aren’t entirely well formed.  Quantity is not in and of itself useful, but repetition can make it easier when it comes time to produce quality.

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