An article of Thomas Oppong, posted on Medium .
How many times have you read a great post, finished an inspirational book, or had life-changing idea, and wanted to make a change, take action, do something, start a passion project….. but then didn’t? How much time do you spend thinking vs. doing?
If you just think about doing something in your head, you’re not committed. It won’t happen. You’re less likely to succeed if figure things out but don’t actually take a step, any step to make a move in the direction of your dreams.
If you’re really committed, you will make a move. Show your progress. Tell 100 people about it. Put money and time on it.
There will be a moment, possibly a bunch of moments, when you think, Oh, I’ll do it tomorrow, I will start writing next week, I will learn that skill next month, start my new passion project next quarter. That’s the moment you have to seize and take action.
You are good enough
What are you afraid of? What’s stopping you? There is a discomfort you’re trying to avoid. Access your current situation and figure out why you haven’t taken action. Many people can’t stop blaming themselves for not implementing a plan to change a habit, start a new routine, or chase their dreams. If you’re waiting until you feel talented enough, you’ll never make it. If you are waiting until the time is right, it will never be right.
But a simple change in your actions will induce a change in your thoughts too. All you need is small step. Nobody’s perfect. We all have weak areas, and sometimes we don’t even know how to correct them yet. But we still take action anyway.
You can’t wait for the rest of your life. Reading another inpirational book isn’t what you need. I can save you time there, because today, right now is the best opportune moment to show yourself, bet on yourself. To choose yourself despite your weaknesses.
If you simply choose to act and take your actions far enough, you’ll make progress. Guaranteed. And you will be better than everyone else who isn’t trying. A simple and effective step, but one that requires action, not merely knowledge, will take you from idea to solution.
I’ve read more articles and books on personal growth and sharing your meaningful work than I can remember, and all of that knowledge is worth very little compared to the simple habit of taking action every day.
Application of knowledge is hard work. Reading a book or listening to a podcast is easy. Doing nothing with that knowledge is even easier. Doing nothing is the default for many people.
And the downside of personal development knowledge is that while some of it will increase in value over time, much of it will depreciate. You will get comfortable and stay in your personal bubble.
What do you know that you aren’t yet applying?
What I want you to do now is to pick one piece of knowledge you have that you haven’t been applying, and commit to applying it daily for just 30 days.
Try something you’ve always been afraid to try, and put it on video. Be yourself, loudly. Start a new company, doing only one thing, but doing it very well.
Start a business that does a service you’ve always wanted, or that you are frustrated with in other companies because the service sucks. Put your heart into something.
Say something that no one else dares to say. Do something others are afraid to do. Help someone no one else cares to help. Make the lives of others better.
Make music that makes others want to weep, to laugh, to create. Inspire others by being inspiring. Teach young people to do amazing things. Write a play, get others to act in it, record it. Empower others to do things they’ve never been able to do before.
Show up every day and work on your most important life work. Whether the outcome is magnificent or eternal, whether it changes people’s lives, changes the world, changes you or groundbreaking, it matters that you show up.
Whatever your dream is, there is always something you can do today that will get you closer to it. Even if it is a microscopic task.
Think about what you could easily do today.
And follow with another small task tomorrow.
And so on.
Give yourself something to pursue
‘’Pursue something so important that even if you fail, the world is better off with you having tried.’’ — Tim O’Reilly
When you bet on yourself, you’re choosing yourself. You’re believing in your potential. You’re believing in your dreams. And when you bet on yourself, you give yourself the chance to win big. You’re allowing yourself to live in a world where you don’t have to constantly hedge your bets. You give yourself permission to chase after your dreams. You may not always catch them, but at least you can take off your boots at the end of the day knowing you gave it your best.
Don’t be afraid of the unknown if you decide to bet on yourself because everything is unknown. And when you finally start doing work that matters to you don’t stop because nobody’s buying it, sponsoring it or sharing it yet. Show up everyday and work on your most important life work.
Whether the outcome is magnificent or eternal, whether it changes people’s lives, changes the world, changes you or groundbreaking, it matters that you show up. If you pursue your dreams long long enough, compounding takes effect. Momentum will surge.
The opportunities to create, to become a part of a global conversation and transformation are now more than you can ever imagine. There are now more free online resources to help you start and pursue your life’s work.
You can take your idea, business, or career, and turn it into something truly successful and amazing. It’s easier to transform your passion into your job than finding a job that matches your what you love to do.
What will you do with that?
What will your place be in this new, interesting world? Will you have a voice? Will you be a creator, or just a consumer?
You can do something.
Do something interesting, meaningful, different, amazing and truly remarkable. You have a choice. Choose to show your most amazing work to the world.
Inappropriate attention to detail is the reason why you have not launched your work. By all means, get it right but don’t aim for perfection.
Constantly push to evolve your ideas, even if you are not ready to launch your life’s work yet. Don’t get stuck!
Be a part of the conversation, and say something remarkable. Create something unique, new, beautiful. Build upon the works of others and transform it into your own.
Don’t be subject to the tyranny of “how things have always been done”. Find your true north and push past the default.
“Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible.” — Cadet maxim
When was the last time you did something that pushed you outside the usual. Outside the secured zone. Outside your circle of comfort. We expect change. Better change. But we are afraid to make a move.
Change is hard. It represents a threat, a chance for things to go wrong. It’s no wonder many people avoid anything that smells of change. And changing our own minds is the most difficult place to start.
Your body and mind crave easy routines. We naturally gravitate towards our safe zones. But your growth depends on discomfort. It pays to explore new routines, paths, ideas, disciplines and new ways to be better at what you do.
Fear is the body’s own way of protecting itself. But you can get past it and you will be used to the new normal. In the real world, you don’t get anything by wishing it, and you can’t get a reaction without action. When you play it too safe, you’re taking the biggest risk of your life.
Never miss an opportunity to show up. To participate. To make a move. To share yourself. Give yourself time in your life to wonder what is possible and to make even the slightest moves in that direction.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut or stick with your routine. Seth Godin once said “The only thing worse than starting something and failing… is not starting something.”
It’s what you Do that defines you
“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” — Thomas Jefferson
Do what you should. Don’t talk about what you should be doing.
Being a Doer instead of just a Thinker requires an insane amount of discipline and commitment. Doing involves risk but it’s the only way to make progress.
If you are not daring and focused enough, you can never get past the “thinking” stage of getting work done. Stop thinking you are at a disadvantage because of your weaknesses.
If you really need to get something done, you will find a good reason why you have to pursue it otherwise your excuses will constantly convince you why it can’t be done.
Embrace the action habit!
“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” — Peter Marshall
Don’t over-plan and under-act!
Thinking and planning in advance is important, vital in fact, to your successbut acting is even more crucial to long-term achievement.
Actions you take beat life-changing intentions. Not doing anything is the same as intending to do something but never actually doing it.
Does it really matter if you wanted or really intended to do something, but ended up just not doing it?
Just thinking about something wont’t do you any good if you don’t actually do it. Every time you put something off, it’s put into a queue, and nearly everything in that order of things to do may NEVER get done.
You can never get real progress if you don’t take action. All of the self-help articles in the world can’t save you if you never take action. Every time you read a book or article like this, immediately apply something from it (no matter how big or small).
Thinking about doing is more exhausting than doing.
Actually, holding on to too many things to do without necessarily getting them done or taken action makes you anxious and stressed. The constant reminder that you have something to start doesn’t help your wellbeing.
Most things on your to-do list won’t be done. Take them off your list or maintain the healthy habit of doing something about them everyday.
Being overwhelmed with many things to do and no sense of priority (no deadlines) usually means nothing will get done.
What You DO Matters!
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” — Dale Carnegie
What can I do right now to take even the smallest step towards achieving my most important goal on my to-do list?
As you think about this question, hold the expectation that the answer will be something simple that can be done in the next 30 minutes or less.Whatever reasonable answer pops into your head, accept it and act on it immediately.
Get that simple task done as quickly as you can. Sometimes you’ll flow effortlessly into another task. And you will experience the “first action effect” that makes it easy to stay productive. It may take a little practice to use this strategy to consistently take action. But the benefits are enormous.
Once you commit to getting started, momentum carries you. Producing results builds positive momentum. With momentum you’ll get ahead and make progress much faster.
Not only is doing easier than thinking about doing, but doing also gives you the ability to check something off your to-do list, giving you a sense of progress, engagement, fulfillment, and accomplishment.
So don’t wait for inspiration. Use these ideas to actively unleash the flow of your creative ideas!