The fox and the hedgehog are in the forest, and the fox says to the hedgehog, ‘So, Hedgehog, what will you do when the lion comes?’ The hedgehog says, ‘I only know one thing. When the lion comes, I’ll roll up into a ball to protect myself.’ The fox doesn’t look very impressed. ‘Why,’ says the hedgehog. ‘What will you do when the lion comes, Mr Fox?’ ‘Oh,’ says the fox. ‘I could do a thousand things. I’ve got plenty of options. I’ve been thinking about this for years, observing lion behaviour in depth and collating the results of fox-lion encounters. In fact, I wrote the book on ways to trick and evade the lion.’
Some days later, the fox and the hedgehog are at the waterhole, when suddenly – out from behind a tree – here comes the lion! The hedgehog squeaks and rolls up into a ball. The fox has a thousand options running through his mind as he backs away: the circumstances aren’t quite right for one option, the results of another aren’t quite what he’d wish, he could probably manage a third, if only – But it’s too late...
One of my favourite mottos is: it’s better to know a little and practise a lot than to know a lot and only practise a little.
There are plenty of people who know a lot – but only practise a little. When it comes to acting on what they know, the number of options (and the desire to keep them all open) often confuses them, slows them down... Some people never act. Others act too late. (This is why there are so many wealth-building ‘gurus’ who have never actually built wealth, and ‘success coaches’ who have never been successful at anything other than success coaching...)
I’m a great advocate of getting yourself informed. But always needing more information – or even ‘all’ the information – before you take a step is a sure way of going nowhere. We often use it as a sensible sounding excuse for going nowhere. (The ‘I don’t know enough’ defence...)
• Goals act as a reminder to move. They specify a step – in whatever direction. So at a certain point, we have to draw a line under the information-gathering (and every other form of preparation and procrastination) and do something.
• Goals allow us to focus on doing one thing – with permission to let all the other things we could be doing pass us by. Sure, there are always other options – but they are not necessarily ours: we’ve committed to one (rightly or wrongly) and we’re going to give it a fair chance.
I started working in real estate at 17 years of age – and have been working in real estate my whole working life. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t branched out and re-invented myself over the years: I certainly have! But the core of what I know and what I do is still the same. I’ve gotten to know my industry and to love it (despite my own successes and failures, and its ups and downs). It’s a game I play well, because I’ve been committed to it. I’m the CEO of a company that turns over more than $100 million a year – and I haven’t finished yet.