Derek Sivers
from the book “Your Music and People”:

Get specific!


This is one of the most useful lessons I’ve learned in life.

When you don’t know your next step…
When you’re feeling unmotivated…
When asking someone to help you…
When you’re ready to make a dream come true…
Get more specific about what’s needed.

There are two ways to do it:

#1: Write down every detail you know.

Inside your head, there is more than you’ve said. Take the time to write it all down.

When you have a vague or distant goal — like “be a great singer” or “make a million from my music” — break it down into specific ingredients. Describe concrete milestones, and exactly how to reach them. Then break those down into actions that you can start doing today.

When you’re feeling stuck or unmotivated, figure out your next step. Even something as simple as finishing a song is easier when you realize exactly what’s wrong.

When you hire someone to help you, write down absolutely everything you need them to do. Include every detail of every step, and your philosophy too.

#2: Research what you don’t know.

Most people know what they want, but don’t know how to get it. When you don’t know the next step, you procrastinate or feel lost. But a little research can turn a vague desire into specific actions.

For example: When musicians say, “I need a booking agent”, I ask, “Which one? What’s their name?”

You can’t act on a vague desire. But with an hour of research you could find the names of ten booking agents that work with ten artists you admire. Then you’ve got a list of the next ten people you need to contact.

A life coach told me that most of his job is just helping people get specific. Once they turn a vague goal into a list of specific steps, it’s easy to take action.

It also makes you realize if something was a bad idea. Many things only sound nice in theory.

So do this for yourself. Take the time to get specific. It helps you and others to take action, and beats procrastination.