It is a bit of a cliché; nothing changes without some action. Yet many of us spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking and talking about acting, but not doing it. And when we act, we often do so half-heartedly. It is a pretty solid rule of life, those who fail to act, fail in general; those who act, might still fail, but will have learnt a great deal along the way. Life then, is fundamentally about movement rather than being motionless. So, if you want to achieve or change something, move! You are not a tree!
Why taking action is indispensable
As important as it is, action isn’t easy, and as individuals we will encounter many barriers to acting. Some originate internally, others arise externally. It is important then to view action as a PROCESS, rather than a single event. An action process may begin because you want a solution to a problem or you feel because something has to change. Something in your life seems off. You may have been or felt forced to take some action because of a circumstance in your life. Changing past decision and ingrained behaviors is hard and takes determination and discipline. Then there are calls for action which originate in an idea, desire or vision you have for yourself and others. This is not about what is, but about what could be. It can be as hard, if not harder, to realize a vision or potential, as it is to change something that is ingrained. In both circumstances however, action is indispensable.
Think about this, we all probably know someone who is unhappy, insecure, frustrated, anxious in life, but whenever this person is urged to take some form of action to overcome their state of being, they refuse to move, citing the very thing they try to overcome as the reason for not acting. Stick around long enough and you will probably begin to feel more irritated by the person’s inaction than their original state of mind! That which doesn’t grow or evolve, rots or dies. Think about this as you ponder the importance of action.
How to take action
Now that you know that you MUST act, the question is how. The first step after you have identified an issue to act on is to create some space to think, meditate, pray or connect to with the issue. This is you opening your mind and soul to that concern and allow it to be in your space without judgment. This is about acceptance of the situation and not a rejection of it. Take some time to create this connection, but do not linger in it too long, otherwise you risk getting stuck in this space and getting overwhelmed by “what ifs”.
Next, make a choice and take a decision to address this issue, and then focus deeply on it. Don’t think about whether you can make it happen, have the money to do so or have any support to realize it. Don’t reject, or push away or discount, rather give some time for the outcome you want to settle in your mind and soul, until it becomes a nagging possibility which has to manifest in tangible reality. Then inhale-exhale and tell yourself “this is happening”.
This is followed by beginning to act with faith and confidence that the outcome you want will happen. Confidence is a logical outcome of faith. Paolo Coelho put it this way “To attain his dream he needs to have a strong will – as well as an immense capacity of self-surrender.”
The last step is to immediately move – to take action. Often people move from the physical space toward the emotional, mental and spiritual spaces in order to understand themselves better. This last step reverses that. Taking action is bringing our thoughts and capacities into application. Because action implies interacting with tangible realities, it is here where we receive real feedback on our ideas, sentiments, dispositions, etc. Think about it this way, you may be a brilliant salsa dancer in your mind, but your skills are really only tested on the dance floor!
Back to the person who succeeds, learns the most and has a happy and productive life; it is the person who goes through these learning steps as often and as quickly as possible! The person who takes forever to go through the first three steps and the people who never arrive at step 4; those people are likely to stagnate.
Change Perspective when you feel blocked
Further trying to visualize why people have such a hard time acting and moving while everything around us is in constant motion. I like to imagine the sun that rolls across the sky – – – having an ever changing PERSPECTIVE it illumines.
Two simple representations; the first image is a “top-view” of “YOU” at the center of the universe, exposed to all kinds of situations demanding you to take action. Often these situations all seem to happen at the same time, pushing you in different directions, to the point you may feel immobilized and unable to move and walled in. When you feel like this, change your perspective. Add a dimension to your thinking — a “side-view”. Realize that in reality different situations move at different speeds, and will have different consequences.
Calls to actions look different from a linear or evolutionary perspective. Rather than becoming immobilized, you need to be looking at situations as “nudges” which push you to move in one direction than another. Don’t worry about making mistakes. The “universe” doesn’t waste any energy. Should you be moving in the wrong direction, more nudges will come! This way, you change your “challenges” into “learning opportunities” and “tests” into “opportunities.”
The decision to take action does not have to be overwhelming either. It is normal to feel fear or anxiety or doubt, and perhaps these crippling feelings come because you think you are overwhelmed by potential consequences. Imagine you would have never stood up to walk out of fear of falling! No matter how hard you have to take ACTION. Sometimes it helps to imagine that you are not acting for yourself, but for someone else you care about.
It’s simple physics – every action causes a reaction! Acting, no matter in what direction, will force counter action, and that is the point. Want things to change, you have to act!
And that’s where it starts, only by acting will you find out whether your actions have the desired effect, you can’t adjust course without moving. Once you act, you will impact others, and they will in turn impact you. We all benefit!
Action – your super power!
Once you take ANY action in ANY direction, you suddenly get a glimpse of your latent skills and capacities. It’s like discovering your super power and finding a light-saber in your cabinet! If you don’t move from wherever you are, all your knowledge and all your experiences – remain stagnant inside you. The minute you take that step and act, the capacities or skills you have, versus those you need, become clearer to you. Then and only then will you begin to see and know where you have to improve, where you might need more experience etc. .
Your turn, what’s stopping you! Move — you are not a tree! Need more “nudging” from a mentor to help you kickstart your amazing action-oriented self? Reach out and leave a reply below.