How to accomplish big things?

yes_we_didThere is a conversation in the movie “Die another Day” where James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) tells Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens), main antagonist in the movie – “You don’t chase dreams, you live them”.

There is value in this dialogue. If I ask you — what is more fun — chasing your dreams or living them? What do you say? My answer — “I love living dreams but one need to chase them before living them.

Big ideas first make an appearance in our dreams or thoughts. Then the chase begins. It makes sense to get out of chasing mode soon otherwise many of us will lose the interest in chasing and also the chance of living that dream. Here are some ideas that may help one do that.

Lock yourself in: Literally if it is possible. This will help avoid distractions and expectations. Distractions like possibility of engaging in mindless gossip, or spending an entire day running errands. Expectations come from friends and family about being with them and becoming part of their celebrations. No one should negate the importance of family and friends; but when the stakes are high — you need to make some sacrifices — only for a little while.

In such a situation tell your loved ones that you are taking time off to focus on some big goals and will be back soon. Those who really care will be ok with it. You need not worry about those who are not concerned about your goals. This will also include saying good bye to unwanted communication — online or offline.

You need to invest long chunks of uninterrupted time — to achieve something really big. You can accomplish this better in solitude. If you are working on building a start-up with friends, create a hub at home of one of your friends. Better if you all can live and work at same place.

This is why you see so many successful young entrepreneurs these days. These young entrepreneurs created successful enterprises living in a college dorm, few distractions and almost no expectations — a good mix for success. Facebook is the better known example but there are many. Y Combinator encourages the members of its famous Startup School to stay together. This also works for a group of students working on getting into a big school – say Harvard.

Around 5 years back, I wrote about starting and finishing a task successfully. That writing is more focused on completing a task with an extended timeline — something like writing a book, or seeing a startup through various phases — like launch, growth, consolidation etc. The current piece is more focused on activities like — building an application or a product; or launching a start-up or cracking a big examination. Still the earlier article should give you some worthwhile ideas.

Sweat it off: When working on something really big, you have some expectation from yourself. Such expectations are best avoided as it can get to your nerves. Spend some time out in the woods doing rigorous activity or just take a long walk. This will help you release nervous energy and keep you on track. In such moments you also get some interesting ideas. At least I do. Try it out and see how it works for you.

Live and breathe your dream: One of my seniors at school shared this during one of our regular midnight discussions – “Any idea that lives with you all your waking hours — will become a reality.” I totally believe it — when you are working on something big immerse yourself with the thought of accomplishing it. Before you set out to achieve it, read, interact and do your research and try to learn as much as you can. Being prepared makes sense.

Try to spend most of your time on pursuits you are after and you will accomplish it sooner than later. I have tried it successfully at least once. The success came later than I expected, in fact after I had stopped expecting. Still it worked.

Think on paper: We only have one head — sometimes it finds itself not capable of coping with everyday demands. This single head has — stuff to remember, plans to create, and memories to hold. With the help of this head, we need to hold on to ideas to make them becoming a reality.

If we can free the head of ideas, and things to remember we can give it more space to think, plan and execute. Head can be free if we think on paper — record any useful thought or idea as soon as it gets into your head. When you record — you get free from the hassle of remembering things.  You can also review the ideas you record and move ahead with the ones that you find useful. If you think about a great idea and then forget it — it is wasted time, energy and a possible loss of opportunity.

Focus on shipping: Your only focus should be to ship. Work to a timeline. If you think you can accomplish your goal in 40 days — work to finish it in 30 days. Ship and if possible take your product to market or at least to beta users. Improve as you go along.

Get a mentor: Find somebody who has done it before. Get them on board as advisor or mentor. This will help you stay grounded. You will also be saved of possible pitfalls and mistakes. It is good to be able to get up after falling. Still it is smarter to avoid falling to the extent possible. An experienced mentor can help you do that.

I am sure that you have a big dream that can use some of the ideas above.

Do you have a thought to share? What helped you to accomplish something significant? What is your big idea?

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