The Scary Truths Behind “Just do it”

“Just do it.”

The saying that millions of us live by every day, and the ultimate motivator to getting just about anything done. When’s the last time you said this to yourself — and meant it, without getting something done?

I can’t think of a time either.

It works because of one major factor: it’s simple. It’s an easily remembered, direct command that has a meaning anyone can understand.

Why do you think Nike adopted this message as their company slogan? It just works.

Photo by Charlie P. Clark

Why is it that when your significant other tells you to “just do it,” you listen? Maybe you cower in fear over it, but in the end it gets done.

That’s why many people live the “just do it” lifestyle. Who wants to live a life where everything is questionable and no action gets taken?

There Might Just be a Problem With That…

Believe me, I have problems getting things done and staying productive just as bad as the next guy. We all do. But sometimes, we have to step back and think about what we are really doing.

So before you decide to suddenly drop everything and go on your dream vacation to Paris, or even set a goal for yourself — think about a few things:

1. Is this what you should really be doing?

You decide to take a class at school, and after a few days decide that it’s just not for you. The only thing is, all your friends are in it, so why would you want to leave it?

In my last year of High School (so, about 4 months ago), I faced the same exact situation. I decided to keep the class, even though I had a few other classes I would have liked to take instead. At least I had my friends.

But I missed the point. I went to school to learn, and try new things. Sure, I enjoyed the presence of friends in the class, but I was missing the point completely. I can hang out with my friends at any time, but I never got to experience the other class I would have actually liked.

Instead, I got a minute each day to talk them, then once class started — it was time to work. Time to do something I didn’t even want to do.

There’s a huge difference between wanting to do something and needing to do something. Always know the difference before making any decision.

2. What’s the right decision?

Sometimes when facing a problem you don’t know how to resolve, you panic. It’s hard to come up with the right decision, but the bottom line is this:

You have to do something. But only to the best of your ability and reason. Let me expand on this:

You’re only human. The way you think is just the way you think, and no one else should dictate that. You can’t make choices that are out of your control, that people want to force you to make, or are just things you’re not comfortable with.

Don’t walk around with the weight of the world on your shoulders. Come to understand this, than think about the most important part of “just do-ing” it:

3. How will you be happy?

Honestly, if you’re not happy then you ain’t livin’. Happiness is how you make it. Life’s too short to not be happy (any of this sounding familiar yet?).

You’ve probably heard this all before, and it’s all true stuff.

You are the most important in your life, and your own happiness is crucial, above and beyond everyone else.

When it comes down to it, any decision you ever make will unfold like this:

  1. You are doing something that will make you happier
  2. You are doing something that will lead to happiness at some point
  3. You are setting yourself up for failure

If you are comfortable with yourself and you truly know your limits and boundaries, you can never set yourself up to fail at anything and will have earned all the happiness in the world.

Here’s What You Should Do Next:

Join the mailing listLife Notion is a blog all about free-thinking and becoming the person you want to be. I will be writing blog posts at least 2-3 times a week, but I am also running an email newsletter every week on the topic of productivity.

I want to expand even more on the “just do it” philosophy, so if you are interested in learning about that and want even more great content from me, you should sign-up to the newsletter below.

Don’t worry, I hate spam as much as you do and would never even think to send any your way.

About the author: Alex Mangini is an 18-year-old web designer, blogger and founder of Life Notion. He has been helping people online since the age of 14, and hopes to inspire even more through the blog. Follow him on Twitter →

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jake O'Callaghan September 24, 2011 at 10:40 pm


Great post Alex. The same thing happened to me in high school. I am taking a class that’s pointless but my friends are in it. It was a hard decision, but I decided to drop it for a class that was interesting, beneficial, and challenging.

As it turned out, they wouldn’t let me drop the class. The class I wanted turned out to be full, and by the time they told me, my school’s period for dropping classes ended.

And I am really feeling the pain now. At least I know now I made a good decision even if it didn’t pan out.

Alex September 26, 2011 at 2:51 pm


Thanks for stopping by my man.

That’s good you did the responsible thing, even though it didn’t work out…shows a lot of maturity for sure.

Just out of curiosity, what were the 2 classes you were trying to switch around?

PS: Slowchange looks pretty sweet, maybe we’ll have to swap out some guest posts sometime. :)

Jake O'Callaghan September 26, 2011 at 11:36 pm


I tried to switch video broadcasting (a class that’s pretty much a joke) for AP Human Geography (a class I have interest in).

Yeah man, it would be awesome to have you do a guest post (though I want to build the blog more, before I accept guest posts). And of course I want to do a guest post on lifenotion.

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