You’re my colleague, or my boss. I wish you would do something, and we both can agree that it’s a good thing to do. What does it take you to actually start doing it?
Well, 1) you need to know about it, 2) you need to be able to do it, 3) you have to want to do it, and 4) you need to get started.
I used to think 1) and 2) and 4) are problematic. Luckily, there’s a lot that can be done about them: teaching, spreading information, giving freedom and responsibility, helping you focus. But as I grow older, I keep learning that I vastly underestimated 3). Whether you want something is your personal decision, your own will, and there’s not much I can do about it.
Now why would you agree something is the right thing to do, but still not want to do it? It turns out there are a lot of reasons: You don’t have the time – which means you don’t think it’s that important, you have other priorities. Or you’d rather have someone else do it. It’s also probably risky or uncomfortable or hard work, and you want to avoid that.
People rarely change. If my dreams or future rely on other people changing their will, I have a serious problem. That’s why you often read that hiring the right people, or choosing the right co-founders, is the most important success factor. (Unless you’re a magician like Steve Jobs who was great at influencing people – Guy Kawasaki remembers having learned from him: “The starting point of changing the world is changing a few minds. This is the greatest lesson of all that I learned from Steve.”)