In sixth grade we were working on math problems. There was a trick for remembering the solution to each number in this set of problems except one. For that number my teacher told us the answer was Bo Jackson.
Just Do It.
He is the only professional athlete to be named an all-star in both baseball and football and is considered one of the greatest of all time. Bo Knows. Nike scooped him up to sell their cross trainers and the Just Do It slogan was lathered into my kid-sister-end-of-Gen-X mind.
It’s so simple, so concise, so powerful. Just do it, man! Fuck your excuses! Fuck your bullshit! JUST DO IT!
So why couldn’t I? Why couldn’t I “just do it”?
Number one, I’m a notorious over thinker, racked with anxiety and a severe case of FOMO, raised with histrionics of even the simplest of decisions being life or death choices.
It’s been super fun.
But there’s been something embedded in that catch phrase I could never put my finger on. Something creating a forcefield keeping success just out of my reach. An element everyone else seemed to have to unlock it’s powers that I just couldn’t manifest.
This whole time I took Just Do It to mean Just WANT TO Do it.
That all these pros out there kicking ass had found a way to WANT to do all this grueling shit. That they found a way to WANT to get up at 4am and train all day, WANTED to run, WANTED to push themselves beyond what they were capable, WANTED to sweat and be exhausted and in pain.
That’s the exact opposite of the entire point of the campaign. It’s not about WANTING to do any of it. It’s about doing it anyway. Doing it despite hating it. Doing it whether you want to or not.
Because getting shit done is about doing shit you don’t want to do. The uncomfortable shit you don’t want to do is going to get you where you want to go.
I’ve been beating myself up for years over my inability to WANT to do the bullshit work, my utter failure to accomplish this “simple” thing that “everyone else” figured out how to do. Everyone but me.
No one figured out shit. The secret has been hiding in plain site in those three little words.
Just. Do. It.
Don’t think. Don’t hem. Don’t haw. Don’t question. Don’t consider. Don’t over analyze. Don’t agonize. Don’t waste time.
JUST DO IT.
I’ve been complicating that simplicity looking for a cure for my resentment at having to do the uncomfortable shit. There is no cure! You do that shit anyway! You do it despite hating it! Because it’s gonna get you where you want to be.
I feel better knowing I’m not missing out on some magical knowledge everyone had but me. There’s no secret, no password, no incantation, no combination of words to flip on my desire switch. The strength and knowledge is in doing the damn thing.
So, Just do it. Bo Knows. And now I do, too.