One day, a man approached JP Morgan, held up an envelope, and said, “Sir, in my hand I hold a guaranteed formula for success, which I will gladly sell to you for $25,000.”
“Sir,” JP Morgan replied, “I do not know what is in the envelope. However, if you show me and I like it, I give you my word as a gentleman that I will pay you what you ask.”
The man agreed to the terms and handed over the envelope. JP Morgan opened it, and extracted a single sheet of paper. He gave it one look and handed the piece of paper back to the gent, pulled out his checkbook, and paid the man the agreed-upon $25,000.
The paper read:
1. Every morning, write a list of the things that need to be done that day.
2. Do them.
I don’t know where this comes from but Tom Peters put it in a pdf file somewhere on his blog (good luck finding it!). I don’t know if this is true or if it is an urban legend but I have told many people this story and apart from the discussion which ensues about the merits of list making the same thought runs through many people’s heads – wow, ballsy. It takes alot of research and leg work to prepare projects correctly but at some point it’s going to take balls.
You can have the best business idea in the world but until you bite the bullet and throw yourself into the fray your idea will go the way of about ten good ideas I have per day (that’s to say nowhere). So instead of whining about the machism of my expression (sorry, by the way) get out there and create your own legend story.