Full text of Joshua York’s talk titled “Doers, Dreamers, and the Differences between Them” at TEDxLivoniaCCLibrary conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Doers, Dreamers, and the Differences Between Them by Joshua York
So what is a doer? The simple answer to that is a doer is someone who does. Someone who takes action, who makes life happen.
In today’s day and age, it’s easier than ever to live our lives from the sideline. We can live vicariously through the photos of others.
With the rise of social media like Facebook and Snapchat and Instagram, we can take a ride on a gondola through the Venice canals. Or we can walk the Great Wall of China all within the same day.
We can go to a concert or we can watch the engagement of a loved one without even leaving our bed.
Now as great as this technology is and maybe, it fosters a culture of people that are content with experiencing the world without ever taking action, they’re content with living through the lens of others.
I believe that there are two types of people in this world. There are dreamers and then there are doers. The people that are willing to take action and make the world happen.
So what does a dreamer or a doer look like?
I really don’t have an answer to that question. But I am going to start by sharing a couple stories of doers and dreamers in my life to just show you that that’s not always what you may think.
My friend that I went to college with, her name was Jessie. I’ve known her for about five years now. She graduated at the top of our class in the Michigan State Business School. And after college she took a job out on the left coast in Silicon Valley. She’s the audit accounting person and she works with companies like Google, Facebook and Apple on a daily basis.
She’s done some of the most incredible things and met some of the most amazing people out there. And outside of her corporate life she’s extremely passionate about human rights issues. She cares a lot about human trafficking or the gender wage gap. Or just many different things that are very relevant in today’s day and age.
And she often has ideas that she can take her passions and make a difference. And she can raise money or raise awareness for these causes. And Jessie calls me a lot. She uses me as a sounding board for these ideas. And time and time again I’m blown away by the complexity and how great these things could be if she just took action.
But Jessie is a dreamer. Despite her incredible background, she doesn’t take action and she doesn’t put any of these things give them to the world.
Another friend of mine, Ryan who I’ve known since high school, is on paper, the polar opposite of Jessie. He’s entering his sixth year of college still pursuing an undergrad degree. He lives at home with his parents and he’s been fired from seven jobs in the past five years.
But despite his tumultuous professional career one might say, Ryan has something going for him that most people I know don’t. Ryan is the epitome of a doer. He takes action about the things that are important to him and he makes things happen.
Since I’ve known him, he’s raised thousands of dollars for charity in other causes that are close to his heart. He puts his passions into action and he fires up other people and motivates them to join him in his causes.
In high school, Ryan started his own media agency where he used to interview some of his favorite bands. And he would post music news. He was making hundreds of dollars a month while at 17-year old because his site was getting so much traffic and advertisers were paying him to advertise there.
He also could most likely go on his phone right now and call up any one of his favorite bands and have a good conversation with them. He’s just that kind of person that’s not afraid to take action. He believes in himself and what he stands for and he had no problem putting himself out there and potentially failing. But he did it anyway.
So now in listening to these stories, I hope you’ll agree with me that sometimes someone’s professional credentials or you know people might not be what they seem.
How many of you out there fancy yourself as a doer? Good. I like to see that.
Now the rest of you either aren’t paying attention or are tired or whatever it is. Or maybe you find yourself a little bit more like Jessie where you’re extremely passionate and you believe in something but you might not know how to take that first step or maybe you’re just afraid to put yourself out there.
I truly believe that all of us, inside all of us, we all have what it takes to do and to take action and to create change in this world. But the doers, the true doers, may just have a little bit more practice at it and might just have a little more experience in doing those kinds of things.
So I’m going to share a couple key traits that I think all doers possess, and a couple exercises that you can enact in your daily life to practice them and maybe start doing on your own.
The first trait that I think all doers possess is that they’re confident. They’re confident in themselves and they’re confident in the decisions that they make so that when it comes time to take action and actually go do, they don’t second guess themselves. They believe in what they stand for and what they’re doing.
Now it’s estimated that the average adult American makes about 35,000 decisions each and every day. That’s three, five, zero, zero, zero. Now those range from hitting snooze on your alarm clock in the morning to how you’re going to style your hair for your TED talk.
And to bigger things, I cut my own hair by the way, I know my mom doesn’t like it but I styled it you know. To bigger things like where to place the care, the health care of a loved one, or how to invest your money or your time.
And a doer embraces these different decisions because there’s no way that you can be correct on all 35,000 each and every day. But a doer recognizes that and they’re not afraid to take a little bit of a risk and make those big decisions. In fact, it excites them.