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Just do it

02.04.12 - 27 comments

Seriously. Just do it!

Over the past 18 months, I completely shifted the way I looked at the world.

I adjusted what I did with my time, I changed the people I hung out with, I did things that were WAY out of my comfort zone, I went to the other side of the world, I gathered the best and brightest people I could find, I had those people invest over a million in my company, I convinced Finn – an awesome go-getter – to join my company. I interviewed Richard Branson on stage and spoke at an entrepreneurship event to university students in my country, while I never even graduated college. And it doesn’t even feel like a big achievement. I just did it, but it wasn’t that hard. I just did it.

1. Jokers

Most people within your nearest circle of friends are jokers. They constantly talk about doing something: creating a business, doing that great road trip or even quitting their dead-end job.

But even though they constantly mention it, months later, they are STILL talking about the same idea. You know that they’ll never do it. They always have an excuse.

  • “It’s not the right moment”
  • “I’m not clever enough”
  • “I need to focus on my job”
  • “I’ve got some classes to follow”
  • “My cat is hungry”
  • “I need money to do this”
  • or my most favorite: “I don’t have enough time”

I’m amazed by the amount of people who preach and scream that they don’t have enough time to execute their ideas or follow their dreams.

They “don’t have time”. But then the next thing that person starts to ask you is whether or not you also saw *every sitcom or movie* on TV last week, what level your World-of-Warcraft character is, or how many parties you went to last weekend!


2. Execute

Become confident, drop the bullshit, and execute.

It’s all about execution. Nothing else matters.

The difference between successful entrepreneurs and jokers isn’t passion. It isn’t luck. It isn’t money. It isn’t their network. It isn’t knowledge. It’s the fact that they simply DO.

It’s really that simple!

Successful people focus on opportunities and execute.

Jokers focus on obstacles and make up excuses.

3. How I changed

I decreased the amount of time I spent with other jokers. Even when they are your best friends, parents, cousins or classmates, it’s time to pull away. Learn to do stuff, execute, ship, and stop talking to the jokers.

Your character and personality are being defined by the people you spend the most time with.

This is because humans want to be liked by the people in their closest group of friends. And imitation is the highest form of flattery.

Most people are jokers. And because you are surrounded by jokers, you are very likely to become a joker.

Think of all the people in your close circle of friends and family. Try to pinpoint which ones are the worst. Those people who are always complaining about their current situation, but don’t do jack shit to change it. Those people who want to do something, but always end the sentence with “someday”.

I’m definitely not telling you to ditch them. But it might be a good time to start thinking whether it is still a good idea to keep listening to their “advice”.

Don’t make friends who are comfortable to be with. Make friends who will force you to lever yourself up.
Thomas J. Watson

What do you want to do? Who do you want to become?

Target all (soon to be) successful people within your network and contact them.

Surround yourself with success. Surround yourself with passion. And most importantly, surround yourself with people who execute. Surround yourself with go-getters.

Learn where they meet, ask if you can join. Tell them about your plans, have them motivate you and push you forward. Become accountable to them. Learn what drives them and try to impress THEM. Impress go-getters. You’ll only impress them by becoming a go-getter, because indeed, imitation is the greatest form of flattery..

Stop listening to the people who love you. They want to protect you and will give you advice that will do just that. Protect you. The downside is that the most “safe” mentality is the joker-mentality. Nothing bad will happen, but nothing great will happen either. You’ll live in the status-quo.

Learn to judge yourself by your actions, not your dreams.
Stop being a joker.

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27 Responses to “Just do it”

  1. Erwin

    Wow! enough said.

  2. Lanre Immanuel

    Encouraging and timely (Y)

  3. Simon McDermott

    I like what you write, a lot, very motivational. Be careful though, in a start up you have to sell things and that often means hanging around with people that aren’t like you and actually building networks with “those people”. Some of “those people” will tell you that they have business ideas, they like start ups but don’t have the time, money etc. In the end, people with your orientation to action find each other and grow businesses, make art, create government but they still need the others ;)

  4. Bauffman

    Amen to that.
    Also note that when you’re doing great, you will attract more jokers.

  5. Sam De Decker

    Davy, I really like your posts!

    You should write more frequently ;-)

    Looks like the message is clear: “Stop being a joker.”


    SOON lecturing @ PHL ?

  7. Neil

    Your little start-up clique of aspirational “friends” don’t really give a shit about you.

    When that deal does fall through, when that personal relationship ends, when that person passes away etc .. the “jokers” will be the ones who also emotionally support you. That is unless you ditch them.

    It’s certainly good advice what you say, but I think a little extreme.

  8. Wim

    Great post!
    Challenging and to-the-point,

    If your followers would like to read my book on this topic, check for:
    “niet lullen maar poetsen”

    execution rules ! :)

  9. Wouter

    As much as I agree with what you’re sayin’, I’m not convinced with the part of leaving all your best friends.. let alone your parents. jokers or not. It’s a fact that people that aren’t ‘go and get’ minded are gonna push you in that sort of a direction but that doesn’t mean they have to be a drag. If you are sure about yourself and you have a bit of confidence in what you are perceiving I’m pretty sure you can make that step on your own.

  10. Pietr

    I agree. I also think you’ll like this guy’s story: – he has the same philosophy.

  11. Florian

    What you’re writing here is the same evolution I’ve made during the last months.
    At the beginning, these “jokers” are a good source of inspiration, but at the moment you’ve decided to really go for a thing, they are obstacles who eat up a lot of your time you could spend on more useful things – like starting your business

  12. Jesse

    Read this entire thing and did not feel any hint of being insulted.

    Why Not?

    Because I agree with you 100%. I have done pretty much everything you’ve said. I have stopped hanging out with the Jokers. All my bad habits have completely dropped and all I do is take action to reach my goals.

    Great post. Very happy to see I am on the right path to success.

  13. Phil Morrow

    Great post, as always.

    Although in this case I agree with Neil and Wouter. Does absolute success make you that happy that is it worth ditching meaningful friendships to pursue?

    I’d rather keep the friends / family and just have one more obstacle to overcome. But then I haven’t achieved any where near as much as you have, which maybe speaks for itself…

  14. Michaël Goossens

    Good article but I do not agree, I would have agreed if I read this a few months or years ago.
    Life is more then go-getting and you should enjoy it too.
    Also the question is: “what if everyone was a go-getter?” Then there wouldn’t be any go-getters … Think about it, in essence you need jokers to be a go-getter ;-) just as a King requires common people to rule.

  15. bastaar

    Let’s talk again in 10 years when you are rich, very successful but unhappy with 2 divorces and you have kids you never see. btw kids are very much jokers too ;-) Life is about choices and I hope that you made the right one for you but don’t pretend your path is the only way to go and all the rest are jokers.
    I admire your devotion to setting a goal and taking the steps to make it happen but don’t burn everything around you cause it could backfire; You would not be the first superhype highly motivated serial entrepreneur I saw crashing or having a burnout. For me successful people are those who can combine life with business and be happy.

  16. Mahesh CR

    Hey..completely agree with you. There is nothing more debilitating than a circle of people who do not know better. The first act of bravery is to learn to say no and cut yourself out of the past. I have been through this many many years ago and know how it feels. But that letting go is essential for any progress to happen.

  17. Kris

    The ultimate goal should be happyness.

    If ditching your friends & family in exchange for a chance at success in business, then by all means go ahead, but I doubt that this is a good path for anyone to take.

    I’ll continue to do whatever makes me happy, and if that’s staying nicely in my comfort zone, what would be so bad about that?

    • Davy Kestens

      Absolutely, the ultimate goal is happiness.

      It’s funny how some interpret this article as the following:
      “Ditch your friends and family, and only focus on business success”

      This is, however, not what this article is about.
      What I try to do is make the reader think about its inner circle of close friends.
      Try to pinpoint those who actually aren’t your friends and try to keep you down.
      Those who are jokers and turn you into a joker.

      Also, I’m not telling you to ditch your family :) I’m just telling you that your family might not be the best source for business advice. Huge difference.

      It’s strange that few readers think that when you leave jokers behind, you will be lost in a world without friends. They immediately make the assumption that the only friends you can have are the “jokers”. That’s crazy. Who invented the assumption that successful people don’t have friends? :)

  18. Michael Goossens

    If many people interprete your article the wrong way then maybe you should rewrite it. The starting point of the article: “This article will contain a strong opinion and most people won’t like what I will write. As soon as you don’t like it, I encourage you to leave this website and never look back.” Leaves little to the imagination and gets readers in the defensive posture.

    In essence I do follow and agree after your explanation.

  19. Claudia R

    Hey Davy,
    I’m not sure what happend to my previous attempt to comment but here’s another try :)

    Your post reminded me of a book I read not long ago, it’s called “Get off your butt” by Sean Stephenson. (a self-development book)
    He had similar advice in his book about the people you surround yourself with. That negative people or overprotective people hold you back. So you should step out of their influence. Kinda like you said about the jokers.
    And the part where people are always making ‘but’ excuses, instead of JUST DOING IT is also a part in the book. :-)

    That book’s been a great influence on how I live my life. I quit the job i hated so much, took some careercounseling to find out what I loved doing the most, and then I changed my course in that direction.:-) So now I’m studiyng webdevelopment through a self-study program.

    If I listened to my parents and some of my friends…. I probably still would be working that dead end job, which made me feel miserably. They don’t understand of course… But it isn’t about them anyways.

    So I just want to say that I recognize parts of me in this post and I agree with your vision.

    :) And best of wishes!

  20. Eric Heath

    Great article. 7 months ago I made the decision to leave my job and travel the World. Was the timing right??? Absolutely not! The timing will NEVER be right… you just have to do it!

    Looking forward to the Branson interview. You should write about how you got it set up.

  21. Airmail

    You changed my life.

  22. Mathias

    thank you so much for the post! It really was a wake up call for me.
    grabbed my baggs after this one, went on a big trip to promote and see where my software could take me.
    Keep writing the awesome posts, they inspire me every day!
    grtz from Antwerp.

  23. Mostafa Rizk

    Not too long ago I came to the realization I was a joker. I had all these dreams of what I wanted to be but I hardly did anything to set me apart from the herd. So I weened myself off of most of my time-wasters and now I spend my free time working on personal projects that might get me where I want to go. Btw, I love your site’s design/feel, I’m drawing inspiration from it as I make my own personal website (my first project).

    Anyways, good article and good advice!

  24. Peter Staelens


    Entrepreneurial is not about what the others think or tell it is about yourself, searching comfort or explanation in that zone might mean that you are uncertain about yourself or has to do with puberty which is basically the same. You just have to be able to give what people think or tell a place and that can be any place: from very useful to useless, why? Because you contain the entire context. You are in a revolution in your life, and that will go on for the comming years, there is no need to look back it is waste of time, so don’t, you left the playground, welcome to the battlefield. Try to learn from your mistakes however. At the very end, you will fight for your life, and the other guys for their life, everybody gets childeren and who cares about what the other does? Nobody. Move on and do what you think you have to do and do it with a clear mind, no manic or depressive decisions, take strategic decisions and set up a team to support you in that, alone you will not do it.

  25. Maxence Lacroix

    Simply true, nice article.

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