“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.”
~ C.G. Jung
Action is the price you pay to go from where you are to where you want to be. In fact the only real difference between successful people and average people is that successful people ‘DO’ whatever it takes to succeed. Conversely average people talk about all the things they are going to do, yet never seem to get around to doing them.
We all have dreams, hopes, goals and ambitions. The thing is NONE of these things will magically materialize without sustained action on your behalf. Yet taking action in and of itself does not guarantee success. Many people waste much of their lives acting busy but they are doing all the wrong things.
It reminds of the story of the fly that was trying hard with all it’s might to fly through a pane of glass. No matter how hard it tried or how much effort it expended, its actions were futile and ultimately led to its demise. If only it were to turn around and see the open door, it might have realized a different course of action would have led to its freedom. The question remains what ‘pane of glass’ are you hitting your head off and when are you going to take a more effective course of action?
Regardless what you decide, it is critical that you develop a bias for action orientation. By taking the following steps you will supercharge your ability to take action in pursuit of any worthy goal.
1. Make The ‘WHY To’ BIG Enough
There is a saying that if the WHY is big enough the HOW doesn’t matter. In effect if you have compelling reasons to take action, you are much more likely to expend the effort.
Sigmund Freud theorized in his pain / pleasure principle that human beings are wired to avoid pain even at the expense of gaining pleasure. If you believe the action you seek to take carries a lot of pain, then you will procrastinate on taking those actions, irrespective of how big the gain might be.
Yet in order to reap a gain, we have to sow a pain. To make money we must risk money. To lose weight we have to train hard. To build successful businesses we have to sacrifice time and money, at least in the short term.
So try and come up with as many reasons as possible as to why you want to take any particular course of action. The more reasons you have the more it will tip the scale in the favor of taking action.
2. Adjust Your Self Image
We always act consistently with the ‘self image’ we hold of ourselves. In fact your self image sets the boundary of your potential. If you see yourself as being lazy on the inside, then you will act lazy on the outside.
You need to be really careful of your self-talk. Few people realize that your self-talk is a direct representation of the thoughts you entertain at any one time. If your self talk turns negative it means that you are in a negative vibration i.e. mode of thinking. Entertaining such thoughts will dissuade you from taking action. In effect this leads to a ‘what’s the use’ mentality.
So see yourself as a competent go-getter. Realize that you have greatness in you. Consider the fact if you only used a fraction of your capabilities then you would achieve every goal you set for yourself.
3. Don’t Get Overwhelmed
Overwhelm is a common affliction that can derail the action response. In effect when we try to do too many things, we end up getting overwhelmed.
When you get overwhelmed you feel like you are inundated with such a significant workload that you won’t be able to get on top of things. When this happens you get stressed out to the point that your concentration is diminished, and propensity to procrastinate is accentuated. This effectively renders your ability to take action null and void.
The best way to deal with this problem is to break bigger goals into byte-sized steps. Prioritize the steps in the order they need to be executed and work through the steps in order of priority. Taking this simple action prevents overwhelm and nurtures your ability to take sustained action.
4. Put Your Reputation On The Line
One thing we all value greatly is our reputation. What other people think of us is an important consideration for everything we do or don’t do. If you develop the reputation for being an ‘action taker’, then you will fight hard to preserve that reputation.
So be that guy or girl that hits the GYM every morning. Be that person that gets into work before everyone else. Be that person that gets more things done in less time.
This strategy develops expectation and raises your self-image. It literally programs you to work hard to be consistent with your reputation.
5. Commit To Hard Deadlines
It has been stated that a goal without a deadline is merely a wish. There is nothing like a hard deadline to focus your efforts. Putting ‘time pressure’ on the actions you are taking effectively supercharges your results.
6. Burn Your Bridges
Put yourself in a situation whereby you can’t retreat. In effect burn your bridges so that you have to go through with the action you know you need to take.
So if you’re greatest desire is to start that business, then save enough to cover all your expenses for 6-12 months, then quit your job and setup your business. The fact you know your income runs out in that 6-12 month window puts tremendous pressure on you to take the actions necessary to succeed.
7. Overcome Your Fears
Fear is one of the great impediments to action. It is the only human emotion that pertains to something that hasn’t happened yet. What you need to realize is that FEAR can only be overcome by taking action. In effect if you are afraid to fly, then flying is the only thing that can beat the fear. If you are afraid to give talks in public, then giving talks in public is the only thing that can beat that fear.
So in effect the antidote to FEAR is ACTION. As Emerson said ‘do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain’.
8. Develop The Habit
You need to develop worthwhile ‘habits’. In effect we all default to performing actions we have programmed subconsciously through repetition.We all sit at the same seats, use the same lockers, or park in the same spaces all through habit. The power principle is to develop habits that empower you to succeed.
In effect you need to take the pertinent actions over and over again until they become so ingrained that you do them without any real conscious effort. It has been said that it takes 3 weeks / 21 days to program a new habit. So if your intent is to get to the gym regularly then force yourself to go every morning at 6am. This will be difficult at first but if you persevere you‘ll ingrain the habit so that within 3 weeks the action becomes a habit.
Taking these 8 steps will help you to forge a potent bias for action. You will literally accelerate the speed with which you achieve your goals, and go further, faster than you ever thought possible.
In order to close today’s lesson consider this great quote:
“The future depends on what you do today.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
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