Ideas Mean Little. Action Means Everything.

I recently listened to an interview of filmmaker Casey Neistat with Rich Roll and was struck by one comment he said in particular: that he couldn’t care less about anyone’s ideas. He is only interested in what they do with those ideas. That, to him, ideas mean nothing but action means everything. How true this is. Personally, I come up with dozens of story ideas in any given week, but unless I commit to the hard work of sitting down, writing them, re-writing them, and then re-writing them again, they are nothing more than mist in the air, something that ultimately means nothing.

So many of us have great ideas for a new business, a new art project or a new way of living our lives. But so few of us actually take that idea and make it something real. And why is that? Well, action is the hard part. And having an idea is inspiring and gives us a momentary sense of pleasure and even—paradoxically—a sense of accomplishment. But that is an illusion. I can think about going for a run, but unless I put on my shoes and head out the door, my idea is not going to make me any fitter.

We must engage the journey through the muddy chaos of creation and actually create. We must give our creation the time and effort it deserves. Nothing magical happens instantly. There are no such things as prodigies, only those that do. And continue to do no matter how many times they fail along the way. If you want to win the lottery, buy a lottery ticket. But if you want to create a great life and reach your full potential without squandering your many gifts and talents along the way, take action. Take your intangible idea and make it something real. Something that you can touch, share and take pride in. Embrace the struggle and hard work required. The work, in the end, is the reward. We find out who we are along the way. That’s a legacy worth having.

Watch Casey’s “Make It Count” video here. (Nike hired him to make a commercial and instead he used the $25,000 they paid him to travel around the world.)

Listen to the full interview of Casey with Rich Roll here:

My book, The Abundant Bohemian: How To Live an Unconventional Life Without Starving In the Process is out now. You can find it at


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