The “Just Do It” Effect: The Power Of The World’s Most Inspiring Slogan

Some of the most powerful pieces of advice I have ever heard are very simple but extremely powerful. The first bit of advice was something I was told a very long time ago and at first took offense to, “Keep it simple stupid”. It turned out later to be a phrase that has provided me a blueprint for how I try to live my life.

My entire focus in life is to try to keep things as clear as humanly possible and to try to simplify the complicated to the best of my ability.

Another phrase I heard a number of years ago which I think is equally as powerful, is the three-word slogan that has become possibly the most recognized three words today, “Just Do It.”

I have done quite a bit of research on Nike, both from the articles I have read and media I have viewed, as well as reading Just Do It: The Nike Spirit in the Corporate World a number of times. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago however, when I used those three words to motivate me to do something that I had been putting off that I became very interested as to the effect those three words have had on others. I never realized the impact these three words have had, not just in sports, but on the world…

The Creation Of Just Do It

Oddly enough, the slogan came from the words of convicted killer, Gary Gilmore who uttered the words “Let’s do it” just before a firing squad executed him in Utah in 1977.

Just over a decade later, the slogan was created after a 1988 meeting at Nike’s ad agency, Wieden and Kennedy. The infamous killer’s words, “Let’s do it” was changed to the now famous words, “Just Do It” and the slogan was implemented into the Nike advertising campaign. The result? From the release of the advertising campaign in 1988, in less than a decade, Nike increased its share of the domestic sport-shoe business from 8 percent to 43 percent, and from $877 million in worldwide sales to $9.2 billion.

The Just Do It Effect Outside Of Sports

It is simply amazing to see how these three words have inspired people, not just to better themselves in sports, but to better all aspects of their lives. Let’s look at a few examples from some of the research that has been done and the articles that have been written about the impact of “Just Do It”:

Career: Many people have advanced their careers by following these three words. Whether it was to ask for the promotion they have been afraid to ask for, call the client they have been afraid to call, or go after the account they have been afraid to approach, the ‘Just Do It’ approach summoned up the courage to take action.

Relationships (Creating): There were many examples of how people used this ‘Just Do It’ philosophy to throw caution to the wind and approach those people who they were interested in. Just goes to prove that the shy boy who asks the pretty girl out to the dance doesn’t just happen in the movies anymore… Subsequently, this in turn, has resulted in countless relationships and even marriages that may never have existed without these three magical words.

Relationships (Ending):  There were several examples of women who summoned up the courage to leave their abusive boyfriends or husbands having been inspired by these three simple words.

Physical Toughness: There are also many people who, just by wearing the slogan on their shirts convince themselves to workout longer, harder, and faster than they would otherwise. This obviously was the main intention of the slogan.

Business: There have been many times both personally and otherwise that I have convinced myself to throw caution to the wind and move forward with a project that perhaps I am hesitant with, or decide to raise money for a venture that I have been stalling. Much like the saying, You Miss Every Shot You Don’t Take , if you don’t go out and at least try, you have no chance of succeeding.

This is an excerpt from an article published in the Wharton University blog in 2005. If you notice, it took nearly 20 years for Nike to propel itself as the leader in its category:

‘Just Do It’ is a corporate attitude too,” said Nike vice president and CFO Don W. Blair in a recent talk at Wharton. From Nike’s early days in 1968, when cofounders Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight sold running shoes from a car trunk, to its current position as the leading athletic and fitness company worldwide, the corporate side of Nike has tried to reflect the same freewheeling philosophy that its slogan promotes.

It is said that life is a program of action. Yes, it is great to think before you act, however, action is the only of the two that creates any level of progress. A person may have read 10,000 books on a particular subject, they may have all of the degrees a person can have however, unless the person uses that knowledge, it will die with them as if they never even acquired any knowledge in the first place.

Just Do It is a call to action. It is quite literally, in my opinion the most powerful three-letter combination that we have to motivate us to succeed.

Let this be a lesson on the power of the phrases Less Is More and Keep It Simple, Stupid– Two of the greatest entrepreneur tips I have ever learned!

Have a great day!



“MJ takes a new and exciting approach on how to teach entrepreneurs.”

Daymond John
Co-host of ABC's, 'Shark Tank'

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