Doing Attracts Doers


A few years ago, I was doing nothing with my life. I was sitting around watching all these really incredible people doing really inspiring things, while I was sitting around on my butt, wishing I could be like them. They seemed in a whole different world than me.

How do you be like them? How do you get to know them? Why don’t I know anyone like them?

Well, I wasn’t doing anything.

I didn’t know it then, but over the past few years, I’ve come to realize that doers like to be around other doers. So, one of the easiest things you can do in order to meet more interesting people is to do something interesting yourself. Do something. Do anything.

Doers, Talkers, and Wishers

In business, startup and hacker communities, there’s a saying about three typers of employees. A, B, C players if you will. A players are the best, B players are pretty good, and C players are passable, if that. It goes:

A players hire A players. B players hire C players.

The idea is that A players hire people as good or better than themselves, because they have a natural curiosity and know that by being around those who are better than them, they’ll get better in the process. B players, on the other hand, hire C players because they’re more interested in feeling superior to others than they are about getting better.

It’s very similar to how doers act. In the world of doing there are three types of people. Doers, talkers, and wishers.

Doers see something they don’t like, and do something to change it. Talkers see something they don’t like and tell everyone how much they don’t like it, but never do anything about it. Wishers see something they don’t like and tell themselves in the head over and over how much they wished things were different.

Doers attract doers. Talkers attract wishers.

Doers like to be around other doers. Being around people who not only want to change things, but actually change things helps the doers keep doing. Meanwhile, talkers tend to hang out with other talkers and surround themselves with wishers who will listen to the talkers talk about how they would change everything if they were in charge. This makes the talkers feel important and makes the wishers feel like someone else might actually change things for them.

Doers have very little patience with talkers – those people who talk, talk, and talk but never actually do. Occasionally, it can be hard to make the distinction. A talker might be able to pass off as a doer, after all, some talking is necessary prior to doing, but any illusions they might have about their true nature, are short lived. Sooner or later, the talkers eventually reveal themselves to be just that, talkers, because when nothing actually comes from their discussions.

Because of this, doers tend to be wary of talkers and move right along without them – mostly because it doesn’t require much effort to talk or wish that things were a certain way. Even if the discussion or pretense is some sort of philosophy or thoughtful discourse, talking is almost always easier than doing because doing requires physical action.

Doin vs. talking.

I try really, really hard not to fall into the trap of the talkers. Endlessly discussing how things should be but never actually doing anything to change them. Pretending like I’m changing things, rather than actually changing them.

I’m in an interesting position because I get a lot of emails from people who say they’re going to do stuff, and then go out and do it (I love it when this happens). I also get a lot of emails from people who say they’re going to do stuff, and then don’t (I don’t love this nearly as much).

One of the most frustrating things in the world, is to hear people talk about things they want to do, then never actually do it.

Not only do they not do anything, but they relegate themselves to the world of the talkers and wishers and end up becoming jaded and apathetic while disillusioned  at the current state of things and dis-empowered at their own ability to change it.

If you want to meet new & interesting people, try doing something new and interesting. If you don’t know what other people consider new and interesting, try doing something you consider to be new and interesting.

Note: One of my favorite things about the Impossible League is that it’s not just a massive collection of people talking about what was on TV last night. It’s people doing some really interesting things. Last month, Kurt got his skydiving certification, doubled his ability to speed read and donated $1,000 to a variety of charities. There’s 350 other people doing some amazing stuff. As a group, we’ve donated almost 3k to Kiva. The League isn’t about amassing a huge quantity of members as it is about recruiting a concentrated group of doers.

You Can Change

Everyone starts out as a wisher – hoping things will change. When two wishers get together, they usually become talkers, and start talking about how everyone else should change things. Sadly, most talkers never get beyond this point. They stall out at talking and never move on to doing anything. The extra sad part to this, is that the only thing preventing them from becoming a doer is doing something. Anything.

The only thing special about doers other than they do things. Most of the time, they’re forced into action. They find themselves ina  situation that’s so bad that there really is no alternative other than to do something. Anything. And change things.

You get to choose: You can be a doer. You can be a talker. You can be a wisher.

Choose carefully.

I’m going to choose do something. It’s way more interesting.

If you want to do something, you can join us in the league.

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  1. Tobias Mullinax says

    I am becoming a doer and it feels like the best part of my life is coming up. Can’t see myself going back.

  2. says

    You know, in the work world, I’m that ‘A’ person you described. I would help hire people to be my peer that I could learn from and was excited.

    I USED to be a doer. I’m just stuck right now. I haven’t even joined your League (or asked to rather) because I’m not ‘doing’ anything. I’m talking and wishing. Trying to get to the doing.

    Thanks for your post.

  3. says

    Hey Joel,

    This is my favorite post that you have written. :-)

    I think you are absolutely right, doers like to spend time with other doers so that together they can do more.

    Please keep it up!

  4. Guy Davoren says

    Well said Joel. I reckon there is a lot of truth in what you have written. It helped me recognise traits of some of the people who have inspired me over the years. Keep up the good work.

  5. says

    Interesting to read this post on the same night as the State of the Union address. Particularly, because it’s hard to exist and not hear people complaining about how bad and hopeless of a period the world seems to be in.

    I’m guessing that only 1 out of 10 people that I know are actually doers, if that.

    I hope people connect with this article and decide to do something, anything!

  6. says

    I could agree with you more, I have a good friend of mine who is purely a talker and complainer and it bothers the mess out of me. On the flip side I have another good friend who is 20 years old, has already started his own business, and is making a great deal of money from it. The difference between the two is astounding. Great post! I loved it

  7. Nicholas says

    I especially appreciated the distinction between doers, talkers and wishers. It’s so apt. Now, I’m gonna get out and do something, anything.

  8. sirena says

    I truly appreciate this community! Joel you have a gift for bringing to life thoughts.
    Many people give me an insane look when I explain that I walked away from my 11 year job with no definitive plan (especial in this economy). The response I give is that i got tired of complaining about the rat race the status quo, etc. I went from being a talker to a doer and have never felt more alive!

  9. says

    Great post Joel! I’ve for many years spent too much time concerned about appeasing the talkers and wishers. I’ve really stepped out and found tremendous support in the process.

    If there are people out there that are talkers or wishers reading this, you might actually be surprised to find that you can be doer. Just do.

    What’s stopping you from doing?

  10. says

    I always wanted to be a DOer but I stayed as talker, until recently. You’re right, it’s sometimes very hard to separate the DOer from the Talker (at least initially), because they both talk about doing things first.

    After a while, you do see who’s actually doing shit instead of just talking about it, and that’s what makes all the difference.

  11. says

    Spot on! i thought about this post a few times today and came to the conclusion that whilst i am definitely making headway i am still a talker 70% of the time. then i felt very frustrated and more determined to do something about it. i always wondered how you ‘found’ those people, the doers…the answer is so obvious now. thank you.

  12. says

    Love the bit, why need to spend hours tweaking the subject line, when you can just come up with a better offer.
    We get Doers, Talkers, and Wishers in all aspects of life, in our family, at work, out and about. Yes it can be frustrating for others to listen to the talkers that take no action, but at times they just need that helping hand to show them how to do things. Great Post Joel.

  13. says

    I love it.

    Those doers are also helpers. When I finally started doing things in my life, I found I never lacked for people to help me. The only time I lacked people was when I didn’t want to do anything.

    Great post.

  14. says

    As a doer, I find that I attract lots of talkers and wishers. Many of them find themselves swept up in my energy, because I’ve got plenty of things for them to do while they’re flapping their wishes and lips.

    They don’t stick around for very long when I start looking for results.

  15. says

    Sadly, I still tend to waver between “B” and “C” much of the time, but it’s really not that much of a stretch to become an “A.”

    Several years ago I was talking with a friend… more a friend of a friend, really… and he mentioned that he was going to take a SCUBA diving class. I said that diving was something I had always wanted to do, but had never followed through.

    “Go sign up,” the guy told me.

    I looked at him blankly. “Huh?”

    “Sign up for a class. Go down to the shop tomorrow. That’s what I’m gonna do. We’ll take the class together.”

    “Uhh… okay.”

    I went to the dive shop the next day and signed up for a class starting the following week. The guy I’d been talking to, he flaked out. I completed the class, got my open water certification, and a few months later I completed the rescue diver level. I also took an interesting class on breath-hold diving, and invested in my own dive gear, including a snazzy ScubaPro regulator system with a chrome finish, just like divers use in the old TV shows. Forget that colorful modern plastic stuff!

    Anyway, yeah, the “doing” isn’t as hard, or as scary, or as impossible, as it sometimes seems. You just gotta DO it!

    Y’know, I’m glad this article reminded me of that dive story. Maybe it’ll inspire me to get out of my current B+C mode and try something new.

  16. Tam says

    I just stumbled upon your blog this morning. This is EXACTLY what I’ve been searching for! This is so exciting!!! Thank you for such a great site!! I just love it. I’ve been stuck in a major rut, just wishing things would change. I realize now that it’s about DOING something. Anything. (Why didn’t I think of that?!) I really can’t even describe how incredibly inspired I am. This is what I needed!! Thank you!!! All the best to you and your list.

  17. says

    Great post. This sums up one of the big reasons I left my job to form my own company. I found myself surrounded by talkers and it was driving me crazy. I couldn’t hire the doers fast enough or get them through the talking process.

    That was one of the big motivations for starting Kickoff Labs. It’s designed to help people take the first steps towards doing something!


  18. Juliano Aliberti says

    Great article. I was being a talker for so long that I formed a big circle of talkers around me, and now when I say that I am doing incredible stuff they look at me like I am insane. I don’t care. I will never be a talker again.

  19. says

    Of course, just as wishers and talkers become doers, things done start out as things wished for and talked about. I’d be leery of talking about things I plan to do here, for fear I’d be branded a mere talker.

  20. Sarah says

    I had been a talker and wisher for so long but I begin to do by changing who I was and and working out and many friends and coworkers saw that and become doing with me! I have become a doer and motivator!

  21. Manoj K Vijayanarayanan says

    Hi Joel,

    I m an Indian.

    My childhood i spent as a wisher, gradually i started changing to be a talker. I set out for targets as a talker, but i do, but not upto my expected or talked level. I started realising myself to be a 60percent talker and 40 doer.
    i wanted to change my present situation. So i was surfing d web for some articles that would help. I read urs, n found it as true.
    I want to change n be a DOER.!

    Thank u for great article.

    I hope i wil get moral support in d process for me to become a DOER.!:)


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