Just Do It! What Is It That Nike Really Wanted Us To Do?

“Just Do It” has been seared in our minds, hearts, tracks and fields for decades. I myself grew up seeing this catchphrase and thought of it something completely different than what I see and feel in, and interpret from, it now.

What did I think of in my youth when I began noticing Nike’s call-to-arms slogan?  Nothing, really. Nike wanted us to go for it.  That’s all I took from it. That and asking myself, “Just do what?”

Now, I can guess that through the evolution of each of our careers working with various organizations, companies, groups, individuals, and personalities (and with a little help from Shia LeBeouf’s recent “Ted Talk” serving as a reminder), we all now know what Nike was really trying to actually say — JUST DO IT!

“So many times we talk about the dreams we have, the goals we savor, and the achievements we want…”

(Actually, the clip shows LeBeouf in front of a green screen giving a pep talk, to which an internet goer added in the well-known Ted Talk background while elsewhere on the internet other creative minds simulated LeBeouf in various other environments.)

So many times we talk about the dreams we have, the goals we savor, and the achievements we want to cross off our bucket list, but only some of us will actually fight for them with good old-fashioned blood, sweat, and tears.

Related Post: Your Burden of Fear

There are those with the advantage of an innate fight burning deep inside of them and those that go without, although many levels of intensity can exist in between.  That overall “lifefight” might be based on nature—whether it was there from birth or not—or just nurture, based on the working or building off of a pilot light deep inside of us that intensifies as we become increasingly driven, encouraged, or supported to fight for whatever we want, or (metaphorically) die trying.

Some people have the fight and some people just don’t. Some people are on cruise control through the norms while some refuse to let the machinations of life overtake their course. Some roll with the punches while others counter-punch life square in the _________ .

“Within reason, there truly is nothing to fear but fear itself. Failure is only a perception.”

LeBeouf’s clip harkens back to, and builds off of, Nike’s proactive call in life.  The clip is funny, and a bit ridiculous, but it does capture the true fighting essence of what Nike was aiming for in the campaign it launched when LaBeouf himself was only 2 years old. His incessant shouting, the repetitive mantra, the evident frustrated and bridled energy, and the call to dismiss any doubts capture that fire, immediacy, and urgency. But putting his incensed delivery and intimidating demeanor aside, we actually should follow suit and get to the point in society where taking risks, drawing outside the lines, and trying something new are the new norm.  Melt down the standard-issue cookie cutters and forge them into a tool which can cut through the regular monotony of playing it completely safe out of fear.

Within reason, there truly is nothing to fear but fear itself. Failure is only a perception.

Related Post: Be The Change You Want To See

But first, obviously, you must calculate your risks, weigh the pro’s and con’s, and then go for what you want. That’s the key caveat: We should always calculate our risks and think of the consequences in a strategic manner. Is your assessment of the obstacle in your way well-calculated, predetermining that the resulting consequence(s) would leave you at a disadvantage compared to your current state? Understandable. On to the next challenge.

Or is the wall standing in your way merely the usual paralysis by (over)analysis based in self-doubt and fear, meaning the situation was analyzed and there was no trace of the aforementioned disadvantageous consequences. Well, then, that’s what I’m talking about. Distinguish between the two and feed that fire accordingly.

“We only get one life. Think about the regret that will haunt you if you don’t put in that fight.”

Those we look to as the epitome of success decided to push ahead and drive for what they wanted. Granted, we can’t be so naïve to believe that a little bit of luck might not have blessed, or being dealt a better hand might not have elevated, some of those whose success we aspire to emulate, but nonetheless you have to have that inner core fire.

What is it you want to do? What do you want to be known for?  What’s holding you back? How badly do you really want it? Are you surrounding yourself with others who feel the same way or, at least, by a network of people who will encourage or allow you to burn your way out of life’s prepackaged safe box?

We only get one life.

Think about the regret that will haunt you if you don’t put in that fight.

At the very least, Just Do That.


So…What About You?

  • Do you have instances where you’ve doubted yourself or held back, where you might’ve missed out on something great?
  • Do you have breakthrough moments where you were initially fearsome but, instead, chose and were able to fight through with your endeavors?
  • Have you taken stock of your previous learning experiences which made you stronger and more prepared for your subsequent endeavors?


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