Strike while the inspiration is hot or later it will seem like a chore, if you do it at all
"We intend to take action when the idea strikes us. We intend to do something when the emotion is high. But if we don't translate that intention into action fairly soon, the urgency starts to diminish. A month from now the passion is cold. A year from now it can't be found."
"The Time to Act" -- Jim Rohn
HOW OFTEN do we find ourselves saying, "I thought of doing that business years ago" or, "I wished I had done such a business when I first thought about it."
I remember being in law school and speaking to our close law school friends about opening a cookie store in a California mall years ago. This was pre-Mrs. Fields, Famous Amos and Cookie Corner. We spoke to the mall management for mall rental space information and did preliminary research as to the cost of acquiring the baking equipment needed to start such a cookie operation.
I had gotten the idea from Entrepreneur magazine and thought it was a great idea. The initial cost was low and the cookie shops in operation in California were doing very well. It was a new concept and out-of-the-box thinking.
Law school assignments and a test, along with finances, delayed the start of the project and slowly time eroded the enthusiasm for the idea. I don't know if our cookie operation would have been as successful as the ones that followed, but, we would never know because we never tried.
It is this "We don't know if we don't try" philosophy that drives our association in China (the Sino-Hawaii Association of Businesses and Manufacturers). Many of our projects in China involved learning about new industries or new products or government regulations. However, if we took the attitude that it was too difficult to learn or to try, or waited for the right time, we would not have acquired half the knowledge we have acquired to date.
Accordingly, although we are far from being experts in many fields, there are many industries in China we have some knowledge about or experience with, and more important, contacts to call upon for their assistance and expertise.
SADLY, the law of diminishing intent (LDI) applies not only to business opportunities, but, also to our lives.
Did you think about doing nice for the members of your family but failed to follow up because you were you distracted by something you thought more important? You rationalized by saying you will do it later, or by doing something else. But the intent, no matter how noble, fades into the woodworks. This failure of action is called the law of diminishing intent.
» I am planning to call my parents to arrange to take them for a nice dinner, but I cannot do it this week. Under LDI, that means I hope to call them next week. And if not next week, then sometime next month.
» I have been meaning to spend time with my children. Maybe take them on a picnic or to the beach. Under LDI, next weekend might be a better than this weekend.
» I have been thinking of helping a service organization. I saw a great article about the work being done for the homeless in Hawaii. Under LDI, I will rationalize that there are many people helping the homeless already; I will help during the holidays.
» Our neighbor lost her spouse, I will bring over dinner for them to enjoy and spend some time with them. Under LDI, I see his child coming over for a visit once in a while. Maybe they do not need the company.
» I saw the blood bank commercial on television this morning. The blood bank provided blood when my family member got into an accident. I need to drive over and become a blood donor. LDI? They probably will not accept my blood, and I do have high blood pressure.
LDI FINDS its way into each part of our lives. I am as guilty as the next person of letting LDI control my life.
However, I find that by responding quickly to my good intentions and responsibilities, it is easier to follow up and much more rewarding. If you wait too long, forcing yourself to do something that was an inspiration a short moment ago turns into a chore.
Richard M. Sakoda is chief executive of the Sino-Hawaii Association of Businesses and Manufacturers, online at www.sino-hi-association.org