There is no getting rich without consistent execution. Clarity is the key to execution.
It’s not about ideas, starting capital, or network—though they all help. Clarity matters most.
Clarity is another word for focus. I prefer clarity because I feel like people have a weird connotation around the word focus. The picture in my head is a student trying to focus on their homework, so they psych themselves up with adrenaline and then lean over their books to read super intensely.
Reality is the opposite. Clarity is calm. It’s understanding the why, and letting the why drive the how.
Ideas aren’t enough
I don’t have trouble coming up with ideas for businesses (I have too many, truth be told). I always have ideas for content. For every blog post I write, I get an idea for two more. I’m also pretty extroverted so I’m not afraid to meet new people or risk rejection. I love all of these qualities about myself. But more than all others (aside from perhaps courage) clarity is the guiding light to focus all your efforts.
If you’re an idea guy, and that’s all you are, you will drown in it. Every morning you will wake up with a new idea. That sounds great—until it overwhelms you. After a month, you’ll have more ideas than you could execute in a year. And the more you add ideas you put onto your roster without taking action, the greater your inertia will become. Trust me on this one.
Clarity drives you
Have you ever had a moment where you quite suddenly just knew something you had to do? Maybe it was the business you needed to start, someone you knew you wanted to marry (or break up with), the job you needed to leave, or the deal to take?
When I’ve had those moments, it doesn’t come with an adrenaline rush. It comes with calm resolution. It’s very hard to change my mind after one of these moments (I want to say impossible because it’s never changed after one of these).
Once you experience this moment of clarity, circumstances and outside voices lose their weight. Well-meaning individuals offer their advice or try to slow your pace. They’re not bad for trying to temper you. But when you’re resolved and you forge ahead despite their warning, it’s greater proof you’re on the right path.
I know a guy who got engaged after just three or four months of knowing the woman. His two closest friends told him “hey, we’re very happy for you, but we want to make sure you’re absolutely sure about this. It’s a big deal.” But he was unshakeable. He was not a brash guy otherwise. Steady. Reserved. His resolve almost proved the point that he was making the right decision. And so far, so good!
I make much riskier stock plays than anyone else I know (except for one guy, with whom I’d say I’m tied). I tell all family and friends about what I’m doing to give them a chance to jump in. My risk tolerance has certainly encouraged some of them to be a bit more bold themselves. While I will listen to any trusted friend’s input regarding investments and advice, at the end of the day, only I am responsible for my money and well-being so I have to make the decision myself.
When I’ve ignored my gut for friend’s advice, I’ve missed out. When I follow my gut with friend’s advice, then I win (even if I lose money sometimes) because it was my decision. I made it with both eyes open. I’m able to learn from the situation and revise my thinking process instead of exporting the blame.
Execution is simple when you have clarity
Not always easy, but simple. If clarity says you need to leave your job and go all-in on your venture, that’s not always easy, especially if you haven’t been a risk-taking person. Yet clarity tells you it’s your “only” path—at least the only one where your spirit is still alive.
If you need to end a relationship (or distance yourself from a friendship) it’s usually not easy. There’s comfort in familiarity. But if you know, you know. The sooner you take action, the better.
Clarity doesn’t need to be absolute. You don’t need to explain it to anyone else. It’s not always a calculation. It’s simply a binary—you have it, or you don’t. As Derek Sivers puts it, “it’s either ‘hell yeah’ or ‘no’.” If someone offered you a free trip to Cancun to sit on the beach, you know immediately if you’re in or not without knowing all the details. If you research an investment and you’re confident in it, you make the decision even though you don’t know if a natural disaster might take out their headquarters the next day. There are always unknowns, but they don’t need to stop you from having clarity.
Details don’t matter much.
Ideas don’t matter as much as you think.
Clarity matters. Don’t stop until you have it.