Do The Thing (Not A Motivational Message)

Just shut up and do it.

The proceeding sentence is the complete message, but Yoast SEO tells me I need more words. So here goes.

In 1899 Elbert Hubbard wrote “A Message To Garcia.” He published it in The Philistine (yes, really) as filler. But, it caught the eye of a railroad executive who gave it wider circulation. It caught the executive’s eye because a shallow reading of the essay might come away with the impression that Message is an entertaining screed about lazy employees that can’t follow orders.

But it’s so much more than that. It’s about doing things. Getting them done.

Here’s a sample:

The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, “Where is he at?”

By the Eternal! There is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college of the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this and that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies: do the thing- “Carry a message to Garcia!”

Hubbard (no relation to L. Ron Hubbard, general -purpose fabulist and founder of Scientology) wants to erect a statue to a guy that was given a letter and delivered it without any questions or excuses. He’s a real kidder.

It’s encouraging to read a message from 1899 that’s complaining about millennials and their refusal to get things done. The next time someone tells you about how uniquely lazy and stupid your generation is, you can give them this PDF.

Hubbard’s broader point is “do the thing.”

Stop thinking. Put down the book. Turn off the TED Talk. Close the browser window. Pause the podcast.

Deliver. Execute. Get it done.

The world will better off with one less slogan and one more finished project.

Photo by Elena Loshina on Unsplash

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