Often, we are caught in a mental trap of seeing enormously successful people and thinking they are where they are because they have some special gift. Yet a closer look shows that the greatest gift that extraordinarily successful people have over the average person is their ability to get themselves to take action. –
I can’t begin to count how many times I haven’t taken action when I really should have. I’ve been successful in most of what I’ve done in life, but I know that my potential for success has always been much more significant than my actual success rate. Fear has held me back, as has hesitancy, the unwillingness to decide, the biases that I’ve had, and the aversion to risk and failure. But when it comes to making our lives better, it’s pretty clear that the one thing necessary is taking action, even if that action is choosing to be patient.
How many of us will reach the end of our lives and think about many different things with the thought, “If only I had done this or that”? How many of us shrink from taking action because we feel that it’s too dangerous to do so, that we’re risking too much if we step up and act? As much as I hate to admit it, I will have quite a few of those times to look back on, even though I know full well that action is a necessary part of a successful life.
One thing that I’m glad I’ve learned about action is the importance of the little actions in life, the small things that we do with and for others. Sometimes, these are the most important things we can do–saying hello to someone, bringing dinner over to someone’s house, cleaning the garage. I’m also glad that I’ve learned the importance of repeated actions on a small scale. Some things need to be done and redone every day, and if they aren’t they build up into something impossible. This truth shows us the importance of chores for young people; for example–they learn that certain things need to be done repeatedly, like laundry and dishes. And doing those things calls for action.
We face the possibility of becoming too addicted to action, of being that “human doing” instead of a “human being.” We must balance action with rest and inaction, and we must develop the ability to discern when action is called for and when action wouldn’t be in anyone’s best interest. Some situations call for inaction, and we must recognize that. Our lives are ours to live, though, and when we want a specific something, very often, taking action is the most important step we can take. Very little happens without it.
Questions to consider:
What kinds of action can you take today to work towards something you want to accomplish or have or do?
What are generally the effects of inaction?
Why are so many people afraid of taking action in their lives? Is the fear justified?
For further thought:
In action lies wisdom and confidence. A person who does not act gets no further than the maxim: Life means conflict and tribulation. But a person who acts can attain the higher wisdom and know that life is conflict and victory. That is why God forces us to labor. That is why he gives us children to bring up. That is why he gives us duties. Through action, we may reach a more profound realization. -Albert Schweitzer