Don't Try And Keep Up With The Jones' - Drag Them Down To Your Level

Robert Seviour

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That's a lyric from songwriter and musician Neil Innes. It amuses me as a song, but in real life, I'm strongly opposed to the message.

I like individual excellence rather than conformist, defeatist, mediocrity. If those words means something to you too, here's what it takes to rise far above the rest of the field - ‘massive action’.

Thinking is great, it's definitely got its uses, but action trumps thinking. You can have the most brilliant thoughts, the greatest ambitions, conceive wonderful inventions, but until you've taken action, they have no more existence than a computer file you close without saving.

If thinking about taking action, gives you a strong desire to go and lie down for half an hour, here's a handy ‘cheat’.

Pretend that you don't have to do all the task, just a little bit. Eat the elephant one piece at a time.

Work on the first chunk until its done, then take a break. When you come back, you'll feel good that you've made a start. Now if you aren't up to continuing full blast, just make a few notes about other areas of the job that you will want to tackle in due course.

Review the parts you have already done, because usually you notice something which needs a tweak, and while you're doing that, your brain will somehow deliver fresh ideas about how to continue the project.

Getting back to ‘massive action', I've just had my ideas about what's achievable re-framed by a mentor who was able to write 9 good articles in the time I took to do two.

Out of curiosity I then looked up a list of the number of pieces that other writers have submitted to article directories. The highest figure I saw was 11,111 articles by one man and 4,625 by the holder of the number 2 spot.

When I last worked for an employer, the time came when I decided to move on. But I wanted to depart on my terms, so I decided to go flat out and set a company sales record. It took two weeks of hard graft - starting at 6 in the morning, often not finishing until late evening. But I sold 10 product installations in that time whereas the rest of the guys were satisfied with one per week. Don't get me wrong, this is not to boast, it's to get you to see that our limitations are elastic, it just takes effort and action to stretch them.

Do a little research and find out what the upper standards are in your occupation. For example, how much money do people make doing you a job like your's. I looked into this recently for what I do and got a shock when I came across a photo of a man holding his pay cheque up for a photo. The clearly visible amount was for $132,994.27 - his earnings that month. He lives in the same town as me, too.

Neil Innes has another good line in that song, it's ‘You're never alone at the bottom of the pile’. He's right, but that's not where I want to be. If you don't either, give ‘massive action’ your best shot.

And I'll see you at the top.

Robert Seviour writes and presents seminars on business topics. For more themes like this, please visit


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