The Habit of Taking Action

October 22, 2010 by  
Filed under blog

Here’s one other thing about the experience I had winning at the Huntsman Tennis Tournament earlier this month. Yes, a huge part of getting through that last rough match was my positive thinking and just taking it one point at a time but there is one other thing, something very fundamental, that made it possible for me to stay in a positive thought mode and persevere even though I was exhausted. It was my innate habit of taking action.

It’s no wonder that the phrase “Do as I say, not as I do” is so often used. Many people, even when they know they should take action, ignore the wisdom they possess and do nothing. But the most successful people not only know what action to take, they actually do it, naturally and automatically. If a great opportunity comes along, they don’t hem and haw and spend so much time weighing the pros and cons that it becomes too late. They also don’t sit back and do nothing just because there is risk involved or quit when things become difficult. Success, by definition, is a result of actions taken. You cannot be successful without actually doing something.

So ask yourself, “Is action or inaction my habitual response to a new opportunity or a bump in the road?” Start paying attention to how often you choose not to act or delay reacting. This can involve anything—a chance to meet new people and network, buying a book or tool that looks like it might be helpful, investing in a potentially lucrative but risky new venture, or being in a competitive situation like my tennis match. If inaction seems to be your default, start making conscious decisions to act even when your instinct is telling you to go sit it out. I bet you’ll be surprised at how often the outcome is in your favor and how energized you are just because you tried.

Just look at me. I came very close to losing that match but even if I had, I would have known that I gave it my all and that would have been infinitely better than throwing down my racquet and calling it quits. And look at what my persevering action resulted in! A gold medal and a hard earned win that I am immensely proud of.

This is not to say that you should just act on anything that comes your way. Make informed decisions and follow common sense. But, next time, act on a potentially good thing and keep moving forward even when things get tough. See if you’re not happy that you did it, regardless of the results. Eventually, if you keep forcing yourself to act, it will become automatic. And so too, will success.


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