I used to bartend with this guy who seemed to have big aspirations. To protect the, er.. innocent, let’s call him “Jason.” He always talked about what he was ‘gonna’ do.
“This summer I’m gonna go live in New Zealand.”
“Cool,” I said.
“Yeah, I’ve done all the research and it’s gonna be great. I really want to expand my cultural knowledge.”
I’d just met the guy, and had no reason to doubt him. About two weeks later, we were working together again, so I asked him:
“So, when do you leave for New Zealand?”
“Oh, I decided to stay here and take extra classes this summer. I’m gonna graduate in December.”
“Wow, that’s quite a change from two weeks ago.”
“Yeah, it’s no big deal.”
“How long have you been going to school?”
I was a little surprised that he changed his mind so quickly, but once again, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was under financial stress.
We continued to work together throughout the spring. I got to know him a little better over beers after work with the rest of the crew. I learned that he really liked to talk about himself.
One week, it would be:
“I’m gonna be in the FBI when I graduate. Yeah, I hear they give really good signing bonuses.”
The next, I’d hear:
I’m starting my own restaurant in a few years when I have enough money. These guys don’t know how to do it. My spot will be great.
And still the next, he’d say:
“Yeah, I changed my major to pre-law. I’ve got a connection at an ivy league law school.”
At this point, I had resorted to humoring him with a smile and a nod. He had officially lost all credibility to me.
Of course, when summer came around, he wasn’t in class, let alone New Zealand. He spent his time partying at the lake and coming up with new plans to tell me about.
I worked there for several years as I was stashing away money to get out of debt. (Read the whole story here.) He was still there when I left, still coming up with big plans to tell everyone.
The last I heard, he got fired for drinking on the job. To be honest, it’s probably the best thing that ever happened to him. Hopefully, it forced him to actually do something with his life instead of just talking about it.
Of Actions and Words
I was familiar with the phrase “actions speak louder than words” before I met Jason, but it finally meant something to me after observing him. It’s funny how you think you understand something until you actually do.
Since then, I’ve adopted the value of actions over words. While it’s not always easy, I strive to express myself through what I have accomplished as opposed to what I’m ‘gonna’ accomplish.
‘Gonna’ Lose Weight
How often do you hear people say that they are ‘gonna’ lose weight? How often do they follow through? Try this:
Next time you’re ‘gonna’ lose weight, don’t tell anyone. Just get on your regimen and see how long it takes for someone to notice. If you can hold your mouth until someone notices, you’ve really accomplished something.
Words in the Blogosphere
I see people valuing words over actions in the blogosphere all the time. Bloggers like to say things like “I’m writing a book,” or “I’m ‘gonna’ post this amazing article,” or “I’m ‘gonna’ try this new monitization strategy.”
I don’t want to hear it. Let me know when you’ve actually finished something.
In Hollywood, everyone’s quick to tell you they’re writing a script, but how many have they actually written? Everyone’s ‘gonna’ shoot a movie, but few actually do.
How often do you hear people tell you they’re ‘gonna’ start a business? It’s almost as if the act of telling someone satisfies their entrepreneurial desires.
People are quick to tell you about their new outlook on life. While I like to talk philosophy, I also know that wisdom is hard to come by. I’m skeptical of anyone’s philosophy unless they’ve been practicing it for several years with positive results.
Gonna, Gonna, Gonna
‘Gonna’ get a new job, ‘Gonna’ invest in real estate, ‘Gonna’ live right this year… Enough.
Let’s all raise the standards of our lives and value actions over words.