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Never Wait Until you are Ready

Steven Pressfield (author, Legend of Bagger Vance is probably his most famous) regularly writes about, well, writing. Being an accomplished author, he is entitled to do so. Mr. Pressfield recently put up an entry in regards to waiting until one is “ready” before beginning writing. An excerpt below:

Can you stand another Pressfield military analogy? This one’s from WWII, the campaign in North Africa. In this story a German is the good guy. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, “the Desert Fox.”

In February of 1941, Rommel was given command of the brand-new Afrika Korps and sent from Europe to Libya, with orders to hold back the British, who had defeated Germany’s Axis allies, the Italians, and had pushed them back a thousand miles to the gates of Tripoli. Rommel landed with less than half of his tanks and men. He had strict orders from the high command to take no aggressive action. His superiors wanted him to wait till all his forces had landed and the Afrika Korps was at full strength.

Instead Rommel hopped into his Fieseler Storch scout plane and flew east to take a peek at the British lines. What he saw, amazed him. The Brits had pulled back; their defenses were thin to nonexistent.

Rommel attacked. He had only a handful of tanks and virtually no fuel. But the audacity of his assault rocked the British so hard, they wheeled and withdrew. One of the quirks of warfare in the desert, where there are no natural defensive barriers like rivers or mountain ranges, is that, once one side gets the other on the run, that “run” can go on for a long time. In this case it was a thousand miles, all because Rommel started before he was ready.

While Mr. Pressfield’s advice is in regards to writing, it is true for any difficult endeavor. Putting off studying for the bar until you are ready, delaying the research for a brief until you are ready, deferring to write that Rule 50(a) until you are ready. People constantly find ways to procrastinate and reschedule that which they know needs doing – until they are ready. “Ready” being a mythical realm equivalent to Atlantis or Elysium.

Don’t wait – press the advantage.

Carpe Diem.

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