Talk Doesn't Cook Rice

Posted by Tom Scarda, Certified Franchise Executive on Jul 26, 2021 8:00:00 AM

In franchise consultant, life decisions

This information was passed down to me by my franchise mentor and friend, Jeff Elgin, Founder and President of FranChoice. He told me it was given to him by a mentor of his many years ago and it resonated with him as it does me and it may you.


“There’s a Chinese proverb that says: “Talk doesn’t cook rice.” Often we spend so much time talking or thinking or planning that we never get around to acting on our intentions. We get stuck in the quagmire of doubt, perfectionism, and distractions, stopping us from moving forward. So, to help propel you from inaction to accomplishment, focus on what’s really important. Here are some tips to help you get cooking.


  1. Don’t over-think. It’s good to have a clear picture of where you’re going or why, but too much thinking can be paralyzing. Don’t over-think; just do.
  2. Forget perfection. Perfectionism is the enemy of action. Kill it, immediately. You can’t let perfect stop you from doing. You can turn a bad draft into a good one, but you can’t turn no draft into a good draft. So, get going.
  3. Don’t mistake motion for action. This is a common mistake. A fury of activity doesn’t mean you’re doing anything. When you find yourself moving too quickly, doing too many things at once, this is a good reminder to stop. Slow down. Focus.
  4. Focus on the important. Clear the distractions. Pick the one most important thing you must do today, and focus on that. Exclusively. When you’re done with that, repeat the process.
  5. Move slowly, consciously. Be deliberate. Action doesn’t need to be done fast. In fact, that often leads to mistakes, and while perfection isn’t necessary, neither is making a ridiculous number of errors that could be avoided with a bit of consciousness.
  6. Take small steps. Biting off more than you can chew will kill the action. Maybe because of choking, I dunno. But small steps always work. Little tiny blows that will eventually break down that mountain. And each step is a victory that will propel you to further achievements.
  7. Negative thinking gets you nowhere. Seriously, stop doing that. Stop the Self-doubt! Telling yourself that it’s OK to be distracted and that you can always get to it later? Squash those thoughts. Well, OK, you can be distracted for a little bit, but you get the idea. Positive thinking, as corny as it sounds, really works. It’s self-talk, and what we tell ourselves has a funny habit of turning into reality.
  8. Meetings aren’t action. This is a common mistake in management. They hold meetings to get things done. Meetings, unfortunately, almost always get in the way of actual doing. Stop holding those meetings!
  9. Talking (usually) isn’t action. Well, unless the step you need to take is a presentation or speech or something. Or you’re a television broadcaster. But usually, talking is just talking. Communication is necessary, but don’t mistake it for actual action.
  10. Planning isn’t action. Sure, you need to plan. Do it so you’re clear about what you’re doing. Just do it quickly, and get to the actual action as promptly as you can.
  11. Reading a message action about it isn’t action. You’re reading my blog about taking action. Ironic, I know. But let this be the last franchise educational thing that you read. Now get to work!


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