Last week, in a response to his ever-dwindling poll numbers several months into his lackluster campaign, presidential hopeful Jeb Bush actually declared on national TV, "I tell people I'm the tortoise in the race" and posted a photo of a tortoise on his Instagram page with the caption, "I met a fellow joyful tortoise on my way to the Reagan library."
Now I don't claim to be an expert on politics, but I do know what it takes to be successful in business. And being slow ain't it.
So many of us were taught as children that the key to success was to get good grades, get into a good school, get a good job, and then show up every day for decades and do whatever our boss tells us.
Slow and steady, indeed. But is that really the key to success?
Thankfully, many entrepreneurs are building businesses - and becoming extremely rich in the process - faster than ever before.
But for some reason, that general concept is frowned upon in our society. In fact, almost always the words "get rich quick" and "scheme" go hand-in-hand. People are actually taught that making money quickly is somehow inherently evil.
We've all heard the famous story to which Governor Bush was referring, where a turtle actually defeats a rabbit in a race.
Did you ever really stop to think about it? If I went to the nearest pet shop and bought a turtle and a rabbit, then put them down on the ground, do you really think the turtle would win ANY race of ANY distance?
Of course NOT.
Aesop gave us all a little clue as to the reality of his stories when he called them "fables!" According to Dictionary.com, a fable is "a story not founded on fact...an untruth, falsehood...a false, fictitious or improbable account; a fiction or lie."
Seriously, we all know that pumpkins don't turn into stagecoaches, frogs don't really turn into princes, and ducks don't grow up to be geese. And, as historian Anita Brooker wrote:
"In real life, it is the hare who wins. Every time. Look around you. And in any case it is my contention that Aesop was writing for the tortoise market."
In my opinion, it goes further than that. The American institutions of schooling, military, government, and unfortunately, many families, are all designed to condition compliance. As children and still as adults, we are encouraged by those in power to follow their rules and do as we were told.
But that's not a recipe for success in business. In fact, it's the complete opposite. Successful entrepreneurs are mavericks and renegades, always looking for new and better ways of doing things.
And business success is all about speed: taking massive action and getting things done quickly.
As business strategist Joe Vitale succinctly put it: "Money loves speed."
In fact, success in anything loves speed:
- If you see a great deal on a property, be the first to offer the seller's asking price - before it's sold to a faster action-taker.
And so on. I don't ever recall succeeding at something because I got there last.
The world is full of all kinds of horrible business advice that tells people that the first thing they need to do is put together a complete business plan, marketing plan, etc. But reality is quite different.
Did Mark Zuckerberg put together a complete business plan before he launched Facebook from his college dorm room? Was Bill Gates drafting a formal marketing plan in his garage before he started Microsoft? Was Steve Jobs an expert in plodding and planning - or a brilliant action-taker?
And as Governor Bush is painfully discovering, is Donald Trump taking a "slow and steady" approach to the race for the Republican presidential nomination?
Of course, the answer in the case of all of these successful business leaders is a resounding, "no."
I've counseled thousands of small business owners over the years to get moving in the right direction, to start taking action, and then course-correct as circumstances change.
To take it to its extreme, many successful business people make sure to start marketing, advertising and selling products and services before creating them - sometimes even before they've even started to create them! That way, if response is low or non-existent, we save all the time, effort and expense of even creating the product or service, and move on to another!
I have helped MANY clients make BIG money FAST with exactly that strategy.
If you want to win at business, let your competition sit around planning and over-thinking everything. You want to be taking massive action. That's what gives you the motivation to take more action, to solve problems, to overcome obstacles.
Those who insist that "slow and steady wins the race" and wait to take action "until everything is in place" rarely take any action at all, and almost never "win" anything. Those are the people who always say, "I thought of that idea a long time ago" whenever an action-taker successfully brings an idea to market.
I have a saying, that I've had made into a poster that hangs in the room at all of my entrepreneur-related events:
"Ideas Make You Feel Good, But Only Actions Make You Money."
And the faster you take those actions, the quicker and more certainly you will get to the money.
For people who take things slow, time is their worst enemy. The more they hesitate, the more time they give for circumstances to change and new obstacles to pop up. And the more likely it is that quicker-acting competitors will beat them to the punch.
But fast action-takers get more done, experience more success and have less-stressful lives. You might think that maintaining a constant feeling of urgency to accomplish more would be stressful, but in my experience I've found the opposite to be true: I feel more stress when I procrastinate, when I'm not doing what I know I should be doing. By making the most of every single day, I find that I sleep best at night.
Of course, there will be times when moving too fast can end up hurting you. But in my experience, the benefits of taking fast action far outweigh any problems and losses that result from too little planning.
So when you fall - and you will fall - just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and take more action.
Success couldn't care less about mistakes. Success loves action. Money loves speed - not tortoise-like behavior.
Now don't think about this too much - just get out there and start taking massive action!