A Man Walks Into a Bar…

Posted on March 19, 2024

The man leans against the bar and says, “Give me a beer before problems start.” He downs it and orders another, saying, “Give me a beer before problems start.” The bartender looks confused but hands him another beer.

This goes on for a while and after the fifth beer, the bartender—now totally bewildered—asks the man, “When are you going to pay for these beers?”

The man says, “Ahhh, now the problems start.”

The joke reminds me of people with big ambitions who get drunk on planning, preparation, and processing ideas rather than “paying up” and facing the real work. “Getting ready” becomes just a place to hide. They don’t want to face the problems that naturally occur during the pursuit of challenging goals.

You can waste countless days, weeks, or months drawing up a hyperdetailed plan. But it will change. And it doesn’t matter how desperate you are to dodge difficulties or mistakes—you’ll have to deal with them.

“Getting ready” is where big dreams go to die. It’s a graveyard littered with the bones of stillborn ambitions, a cemetery full of wonderful possibilities that never moved from planning to execution.

Sure, planning has value. But it’s often too hypothetical—you’re speculating, just guessing about what you think will work. Actual pursuit lets you know. It’s best to collide with the real world as soon as possible!

If you have a clear goal, don’t bury it by in-depth organizing, gathering more data, second-guessing yourself, weighing options, trying to pinpoint the “right timing,” and other pursuit-killing busywork. You already know enough to launch your quantum leap. You can do something, so move immediately toward your aiming point.

You don’t have to feel ready to be ready.

Chasing a big ambition is sort of like performing on an improv comedy stage. Your pursuit is mostly unscripted and unrehearsed. It’s hard to predict what will happen next. You have to ad lib…take it as it comes…be willing to make it up as you go.

Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE, said,

“In real life, strategy is actually very straightforward. Pick a general direction and implement like hell.”

Simply “get going.” That’s the only way you can breathe life into your dream.


Price Pritchett is one of the foremost experts on fast-growth strategies and breakthrough performance. His firm—PRITCHETT, LP—is recognized worldwide for its thought leadership on mergers, corporate culture, change management, and accelerated achievement. These writings define the behaviors and individual mindset underlying fast growth and innovation.


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