12 August 2013

23 – How You ‘Just Do It’ Matters

Twenty-five years ago Nike unveiled one of the most iconic slogans in marketing and cultural history. Along with the ‘Air Jordan’ and ‘Bo Knows’ campaigns of the late 1980s, those three little words helped Nike completely alter the landscape of sports marketing and consumer culture. You know the slogan even if you don’t think you do. And it’s impossible to say those three little words without seeing the equally iconic swoosh flash before your mind's eye. 

But it’s not enough to ‘just do it.’ How you ‘just do it’ is just as important.

He knows what keeps Chuck Norris awake at night.

Lead by example whenever you do what you do. Perform the task like someone who’s eager to learn is watching. Ninety percent of communication is body language. Teach and inspire through your actions. Good actions and habits are infectious and good people will emulate them. It’s proof that not all infections are a bad thing.

Offer advice when it’s asked for. People with good advice to offer are sought after. If you’re one of those people you’ll be found. Never throw advice at people who don’t ask for it. Trying too hard to look smart just makes you look stupid. Advice is all about helping others become better. It has nothing to do with making ourselves look good.  

If your name is Charlie Brown I’d advise you to consult another specialist.

Lend a hand when two simply aren’t enough. Lend two hands if you can. It’ll pay off in those moments when you discover that your own two hands simply aren’t enough. If you're lending three hands consult your family physician.

Always find the fun in what you do. It’s more than possible. It’s essential. People respond positively and productively to good-natured and lighthearted settings. I worked in one of the most productive and efficient wholesale retail bakeries in Canada for five years. Customers would actually watch and marvel at how we laughed so much while doing so much so quickly. I heard more laughter and joking in that bakery than I did while hanging out with my friends at night. And my friends had plenty of funny bone in them! When you find the fun you’ll find yourself getting more things done.

Tackle the most daunting tasks first. Confront the most difficult activity when you’ve got the most energy. I always start my chest and back workout by doing my push-ups and pull-ups first. Once you’ve faced the gale everything else feels like a breeze.  

Be constructive when you critique other people’s work. If you need to tell someone they’re done something wrong make sure you offer a method for doing it right. Telling a carpenter to tear down and reframe the walls he’s just raised without pointing out what needs fixing never works. At that point being told to ‘fuck right off’ is the least of your concerns. You should be more concerned about the hammer he’s just thrown at your head. Mistakes are great building blocks for promoting improvement and learning. Use them accordingly.  

Remind yourself and others of what’s been accomplished. Realizing how far we’ve come makes the destination seem much closer. There’s no better fuel for reaching an objective.

If you can’t do it then don’t do it. Admitting we need help to do something right is better than denying we need help and doing something horribly wrong. In seeking help we always find a greater strength.  

Take a break for your own sake. If you’re standing and walking, then sit down. If you’re sitting and thinking, then get up and go for a walk. Working hard at whatever we do breaks down our bodies and minds. Breaking from our tasks builds them back up. Pace yourself. Trying to sprint through a marathon never works.  

Know when to call it a day. We all have our own thresholds. You’ll know when you’ve hit yours. Trying to remain highly productive once our energy’s spent is highly destructive. There’s no shame in punching the clock after giving a good, honest effort.

Always be open to critiques and suggestions. If they’re good, find ways to incorporate them. If they’re not, try to politely end the conversation without throwing that hammer I mentioned at the person’s head. The true expert never stops seeking ways to improve their craft. The true fool believes they can know everything. Success always dies a hard death at vanity’s doorstep.

Nike’s monumental slogan does offer good advice. But it’s only half the equation. In the end just doing it isn’t the most important thing. It’s how you do it that truly matters.


  1. Drums in the deep...lock up your doors Bob, you let the secret out...they are coming!

    1. Haha! Thanks for the head's up, Dave!

  2. Great advice, Bob! Funny how some of the most sound advice seems like the most obvious and simplest. Great job :)

    1. Thanks Jason,

      Guess you gotta keep it simple to keep it real. Ha ha! Cheers!



What's a House Newf?

My photo

The House Newf is from a rugged and beautiful island on the eastern edge of Canada called Newfoundland. He was first identified by a potter with a naturalist's flair, and he does in fact live in a house under the watchful eye of a cat that seems bewildered by the universe at large. That house is in Halifax, Nova Scotia and that's where the House Newf writes fiction and essays on things that add value to his life that may add some value to yours. You can contact him at bobharding80@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter @theHouseNewf, on Instagram @thehousenewf, and like him on Facebook. The House Newf is a unique specimen. Every home should have one.