Lesson from a Convict: Just Do It

A prisoner, Gary Gilmore, was convicted for multiple heinous crimes he had committed which ranged from assault, 3 armed robberies and a two-count murder charges. He was sentenced to death.

On the night of his execution, he was asked by his executioners if he had any last words to say, or perhaps had an apology or explanation for his actions. Gary simply said calmly, “Let’s do it”. He was executed by a firing squad at 8:07am at the Utah State prison.

An advertising copy writer who at the time was tasked with the responsibility of coming up with an ad copy for a sportswear company heard the story of this condemned man’s confidence, even minutes to his death. The founder of Wieden+Kennedy agency, Dan Wieden ‎credits the inspiration for his “Just Do It” Nike slogan to Gary Gilmore’s last words.‎

The “Just Do It” campaign allowed Nike to further increase its share of the North American domestic sport-shoe business from 18% to 43%, (from $877 million to $9.2 billion in worldwide sales) from 1988 to 1998. ‎

We don’t always have the courage to just do things like a hardened convicted criminal on death row, after all we’re not psychopaths.  So we hesitate, we reassess, we stall and we procrastinate. The truth is our indecision is brought by about fear. But we won’t admit that much. Instead we seek and find “good” excuses for not taking action.

However if there’s anything I’ve found out from my extensive years of experience as a public speaker and businessman, I’ve realized that even if you don’t feel confident, just merely acting confident and taking one step forward is by far more effective a strategy than coming up with 100 good excuses for stalling.

Fear is a debilitating illness to the human psychology and even physiology. But by taking one small step forward, we can trick our minds into assuming that the fear no longer exists or matter as much. We are no more crippled by it rather we are encouraged by the fact that every subsequent step makes us feel more competent, courageous and eventually we learn to run with our ideas. The key word here is: feel.

Our emotions respond faster to our actions and words than mere logic. Let me say again, emotions eat logic for breakfast. But by taking affirmative actions and spoken self suggestions, no matter how small and “act as if” you are no longer afraid/shy/introverted/slow/indecisive/timid/________ (fill in your excuse).

Simply start by acting confidently or speaking more confidently and eventually you’ll become it. Like William James, the great American psychologist and philosopher said, “Sow an action and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny”.

Your destiny isn’t written in the stars. It’s written by your daily actions. So act now! Use the self-starter, “Just do it” or “Do it now” and repeat it to yourself several times as a self-suggestion until it eventually becomes a habit and you no longer need to be concious about it as your subconscious mind will accept it as your new default-settings and it becomes your brand new shiny character. Each time these words flash in your mind, make it a habit to do whatever it is you’re thinking of without delay (just as long as it’s legal).

Good luck!‎

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic.

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8 thoughts on “Lesson from a Convict: Just Do It

  1. Thanks coach …as displayed,am certainly gonna just do it anyway…thanks for the book am drinking it deep down…again thanks Coach..will be back sir