It was the 27th September 1975 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) or better known as the ‘G’ to locals. It was the footy (otherwise known as Aussie Rules Football) Grand Final between Hawthorn Hawks and North Melbourne Kangaroos in front of 110,551 mad supporters.
The Kangaroos had the better of the hawks and at halftime. The legendary coach John Kennedy Snr. was out on the ground addressing his Hawthorn troops, and he wasn’t happy.
What came next is folklore in Australia. It’s an address that went on for quite some time, but one thing has stuck out.
Kennedy has been quoted saying ‘ “It was half-time against North and we had a few academics in the side at the time and they were telling me what we should do and ‘I think this’ and ‘I think that’. “It just got too much for me so I just said, ‘Don’t think, do!’
You hear this phrase around the office from time to time, or before the footy in the line getting hot chips or at the under 12 game.
‘Don’t think, Do!’
In my opinion, overthinking has become one of the most dangerous and destructive thought processes of modern times.
David Sikhosana says “Overthinking, also, best known as creating problems that are never there”.
Kennedy knew this. His team was thinking too much and he had to put a stop to it. More importantly, he had to give them something to remember, something that would replace their current thought process.
It was Action!
The thing he wanted them to realise was that when they came off the ground at the end of the game, only one thing mattered.
What they did.
Not what they thought they could do, but what they did. He wanted them to take ‘immediate action’.
In Mel Robbins‘ book The 5 Second Rule, which is well worth reading, she explains taking immediate action this way:
“The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal you must 5-4-3-2-1 and physically move or your brain will stop you.”
A coach’s strategy is crucial in a game of footy, but what wins games is action. Kennedy knew that his players were at their peak, as they finished on top of the ladder and had been in incredible form. He also knew that they knew what was needed to be done, and knew they were capable of doing it.
Not thinking, Doing.
When it’s all said and done, it all comes down to action.
This address to his players, otherwise known as ‘Kennedy’s Commando’s’, would go down in history as one of the most inspirational speeches in modern sport. At its core, it’s a simple message. all the thinking in the world doesn’t get you anywhere if it isn’t immediately followed by action.
Thinking is vitally important. We know that. We use it to determine why we need to do something, what we need to do, when we need to do it and how we need to do it. But, if it’s not immediately followed by action, it’s a complete waste of your brainpower.
‘Knowing is not enough: we must apply. Willing is not enough: we must do’. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I know for me, overthinking has held me back on numerous occasions. I couldn’t tell you where I’d be and what I would have already accomplished if it weren’t for overthinking.
Along with overthinking, deciding to do something can also be a trap.
In this article, Skip Pritchard talks about moving from deciding to doing. He states, ‘By getting into the habit of putting ideas and decisions into action, we are in a better position to achieve the results we desire’.
‘Don’t think, Do!’ is probably my most go-to phrase. It encapsulates, in a nutshell, everything that I believe. We’re remembered not for what we think we can do, but what we Actually do.
Reflect on this thought next time you’re thinking about getting that thing done, you know, the thing that you keep thinking about.
Remember, actions speak louder than words, or in this case, thoughts.
Now go Do something!
Stay well my friends, and remember, that you’re loved and you’re awesome!
John Kennedy Snr. (29 December 1928 – 25 June 2020)
In the comments below, share what you’ve Actually done, or…going to do. Or shoot over to the Facebook page and share.
For further reading, and this is a Long post, The Overthinker’s Guide for Taking Action: A Complete Guide.