Gavin Oattes - Decisions Decisions

Gavin Oattes

An old teacher of mine once asked me, “if there are ten birds sitting on a washing line and five decided to fly away, how many would be left?”. My brain wanted to say five but I knew there had to be more to it.

And I was right. The answer was of course ten, always has been, always will be. Ten birds are left and they are all still sitting on the washing line. They only decided to fly away.

I love the birds on the washing line analogy, how many times do we decide we’re going to do something but don’t actually get round to doing it?

How many of you planned to hit the gym on the 2nd of January to get yourself fit and healthy but it’s now July?

How many of you decided to stop smoking, go for that promotion or ask that person out? How many of us have decided to become entrepreneurs, set up in business and make great things happen? And finally, how many of us have actually then done something about it?

If we’re not careful we can spend our entire lives deciding but not actually doing. People do. They spend their whole life putting things off. Think about this for a moment. THEIR ENTIRE LIFE PUTTING THINGS OFF.

I wrote last month about the importance of finding your why, your purpose. But finding it is one thing, once you’ve found it, just what are you going to do with it?

Decide what it is that you want. Write that shit down. Make a plan. And work on it. Every. Single. Day.

Get inspired by those already doing it. Ask questions, lots of questions and then ask some more.

Network, meet people, listen.

Whatever age and stage you’re at there is so much help, love and support out there for us all.

Organisations such as Elevator, Scottish Enterprise, Business Gateway and Bridge 2 Business. Contact them all, someone out there will help you.

And if you fail? Pick yourself up, dust yourself down, learn from it and crack on.

So let’s start again. if there’s ten birds sitting on a washing line and five decide to fly away, how many are left now? Nine. The answer is nine. Why nine? Because there’s always one. There needs to be one.

Are you that one? Is now is your time.

Wake up. Kick ass. Be kind. Repeat.

Gavin Oattes is an international keynote speaker, award winning comedian, children’s author and former Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Although he spends much of his time speaking to business leaders and directors of some of the world’s leading organisations Gavin’s true inspiration for what he does comes from where he started out his career…primary school teaching. Follow Gavin on Twitter: @gavinoattes and for more please visit