FEATURE - Ralph Marston
Most of us have no problem coming up with perfectly valid reasons for not taking action in our businesses. Our excuses may temporarily make us feel better, but have you noticed that they don't bring any value to life? Excuses do not pay the bills, they do not solve problems-- they just allow us to justify not taking action.
Get ready now to look at a long list of excuses, "reasons" not to take action, and turn them on their head. You've probably heard these excuses before, whether from your own mouth or from someone in your group. Here you'll find a series of compelling rebuttals for each excuse. The result? A list of powerful reasons for taking action now.
Are you afraid of looking foolish for some reason? Why? You know what you need to do, and you're committed to doing it. Don't worry about looking foolish. What will really make you look foolish is to just sit around making excuses. An honest effort is nothing to be ashamed of. What other people think is their problem, not yours. Let them think what they will. It doesn't matter. Do what needs to be done. Get on with it.
Sure it's uncomfortable to take action. But what is so great about comfort? Are you committed to comfort or to accomplishment? A cow grazing in a pasture is comfortable. You are capable of much more. You have possibilities to be explored, and to explore them you'll need to get your hands dirty. A little discomfort right now is much less painful than the regret you'll eventually
feel if you don't take action. Discomfort can eventually be overcome, but regret will never go away. Get
up out of your comfort zone and start making a
The only person you should compare yourself to is yourself. Your obligation is to do your very best. Don't worry about how that compares to someone else. Just do it. Everyone is unique. Everyone has their own special contribution to make. You'll only discover yours by taking action. If you decide in advance that you'll never be as good as so-and-so, then you forgo the opportunity to find your own unique skills. Winners refuse to even acknowledge the competition by blazing new trails. Comparing yourself to others will only bring you down. Set off in your own unique direction and make it happen.
A new task can often appear complicated because you're not familiar with it. Once you dive in, once you get a little experience, you'll get the hang of it. Think of all the things you've learned in your life. You're good at learning, and the best way to learn is to start taking action. Whatever you see as too complicated has something about it that you can understand. Use that as your starting point. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. That's how you learn. There's no reason to be ashamed about not knowing something. Everyone had to learn it at some point in time. Now is your time to learn. Dive right in, take on the challenge, take action, learn, grow and you'll accomplish things you never thought possible.
Then you'd better get started as soon as possible! It will take even longer if you sit around bemoaning the fact that it will take too long. Great accomplishments take time and effort, and the most fulfilling part of any accomplishment is not in finishing it, but in doing it. The journey is the reward, so be thankful that you'll be rewarded over a long period of time. If the final result suddenly appeared out of thin air, with no effort on your part, what value would it bear? If it will take a long time, then it will be valuable and worthwhile. So by all means, get started as soon as possible! Start making it happen and enjoy the long, fulfilling journey.
That's not true-- you will care, and you are someone. The world is not anxious to hand success to you on a silver platter. If no one cares about you, it is probably because you don't care enough about anyone else (or yourself, for that matter) to do what it takes to make a life of accomplishment for yourself. If you start taking focused, directed action toward your goals, you can be sure that people will start to take notice. The world is indeed indifferent to those who sit around and make excuses. If that's all you do, you're right-- no one will care. But if you stand up, step forward and take action, you'll be amazed at how many people are waiting to cheer you on. What are you waiting for? Get busy and you'll get noticed.
Why not? What do you mean, "I could never"? Of course you could! If it can be done, you can do it. You have to want it, of course. If you want it enough, you'll do it. "I could never" is usually said wistfully, meaning, "I wish I could, but I can't." That's preposterous. You can if you really want to. Free yourself from your own limitations. What do you want to do? What will fulfill the enormous potential of your life? Certainly not hiding behind "I could never." You are capable of truly extraordinary accomplishments. You can do whatever you decide you're going to do. You can find a way. Have the courage to live your possibilities.
Sometimes you're just so overwhelmed, you feel like throwing up your hands or crawling into a hole and curling up in the fetal position. WRONG! That's exactly what you must not do. When you're overwhelmed, that's all the more reason to start taking the actions that will rectify your situation. When you're overwhelmed is when you're the most frustrated and the most motivated. Now is your chance to really take action with dedication and commitment. Don't blow the opportunity. The frustration you feel is good, solid positive energy waiting to be released. If it is not released in a positive direction, there is a very big danger that it will become destructive energy. Use that frustration to your advantage! You're overwhelmed? GREAT! Do something about it right now. Quit complaining and start taking positive action. If you're overwhelmed it means that there are plenty of things which can be done, things which will most likely make a difference very quickly. Pick something and start doing it right now. As soon as you get busy, your frustration will start pushing you forward.
You are just as good, just as worthy, just as valuable as anyone. No one can intimidate you, no matter what kind of car they drive, or what their business card says, or how big their house is, or how big their factory is. No one is better than you. You are the best you there is. Inside you is the potential to do, or be, or have anything you desire. No one has more than that. Some may have progressed farther down the path at this moment, but that doesn't make them any better than you. If you start to take action right now, you will be working your way down that same path. No matter what anyone says, or does, no matter what your situation-- personal, financial, social or otherwise-- you can choose to live your life in your own way. There is no greater success than that. You must be the one to achieve your success. Though no one can hold you back if you're determined enough, by the same token, no one can do it for you. You have to step up to the challenge, believe in yourself, and do what it takes. Right now is a great time to start. You deserve the best that life has to offer. Do whatever needs to be done to make it happen.
Anything worth having, or doing, or being, requires effort. What if you could have whatever you wanted, again and again, just by snapping your fingers? What if everyone else could, as well? How much would you value and appreciate the things you had? What would you do with your life, if there was no need for effort? Where would you find meaning, what would give you satisfaction? The value of effort is not only in what it produces, but also in what it demands of you. The greatest opportunity in life is not for a free ride. The greatest opportunity is to be fully challenged, and to meet challenge with effective effort. The things we value are the things to which and for which we give of ourselves. There is no way around that. Some of the hardest working people are those who are wealthy enough that they don't need the money. They do need the effort, and the accomplishment, and the challenge. We all do. Without it, life is shallow and empty. Make the effort. Do it now. Start today to meet the challenge.
What are you tired of? Doing nothing can be just as tiring as taking action. If you're physically tired, then go to bed and get a good night's rest. Then get up in the morning and get started! No matter what you do today, you'll be tired tonight. You can be tired after a day of effective effort and accomplishment, or you can be tired after a day of getting nowhere. The choice is yours. If you're going to be tired anyway, it makes sense to get something out of it-- to put forth your best effort, to move in the direction of your goals, to make a difference, to make a life of excellence for yourself and the world around you. Take action toward an exciting goal, and instead of being tired, you'll be exhilarated.
What you do matters. You can make a difference if you choose to do so. If there's something that needs to be done, doing it will make a difference. You know that. Thinking that it won't matter is just a petty rationalization. Of course it matters. If it doesn't, then find something else that does. You are a creative, effective person who is full of possibilities. The job at hand may not be the most important thing in the history of the world, but if it gets you into action, then it matters very much. No matter how small the effort or consequence, it is a start. It revs up the momentum of the intelligent, creative, productive person you are, and once you get going, there's no telling how much you can accomplish. It all starts with taking action. Don't hide behind the thinking that it won't matter. Jump in and get started. It does matter.
You never fail-- you always succeed in producing results. If you don't like the results you are producing, then you can learn from your mistakes and change your strategy. By taking action, you will not fail. In fact, the only way to fail is to not take action. By taking action, you always achieve a result. The result could very well be the achievement of your goal, or it could be a learning experience that will eventually bring you to the goal you desire, but you never fail. After Thomas Edison had tried 9,999 times to perfect the light bulb, and had not succeeded, someone asked him if he was going to have 10,000 failures. Edison replied that he had not failed-- that he had just discovered another way not to invent the electric light. Failure is simply not an option. Everything you do has a result and eventually those results will lead you to the achievement of whatever you desire.
Then why are you even considering it? If it's something you know you need to do, then think about why. Find a reason that is meaningful and compelling to you: Why must you take action? You may not be committed to this particular action, yet you need to do it because of something else to which you are committed. Remind yourself of what that is. Remind yourself why it is important. Get committed and do it, or move on to something else right now.
Taking positive action toward your goals is precisely what will get you back on your feet. If you wait for conditions to be perfect, that time will never come. Even if you could somehow get things perfect before taking action, problems and obstacles would come along soon after you started anyway, so why bother waiting? If something needs to be done, waiting will only make your situation worse. Yes, there are problems to deal with. That's part of the challenge. Just step right in and start to work on the first problem. When that's solved, get busy on the next problem. Suddenly you'll be making progress-- infinitely more progress than if you waited for things to be perfect before starting. Stop waiting for things to be perfect. Start now. Get going. It's the best thing you can do.
What are you accomplishing with all that busy-ness? Simply being "busy" gets you nowhere. Stop being busy, evaluate your priorities, and start taking focused, directed action. Anyone can be busy at anything, but so what? Accomplishment requires more than just burning up time. Accomplishment demands action and results. Stop being busy and start doing something today.
If you are having trouble deciding on a course of action, then there's probably not all that much difference between the various choices. Evaluate them all objectively and sincerely. Project each choice into the future. If you still can't decide which course of action would be best, just choose one. You can always make adjustments along the way. Going forward is much better than being paralyzed by the inability to make a decision. The optimal decision is the one that gets you where you want to go, and for that to happen you must pick one and make it work.
Yes, that's right. You can always do it later. And when it's later, you'll probably say the same thing. Nothing gets done by putting it off until later. The fact is, you are alive and making decisions right now. Right now is the period of time over which you have control. Right now is the time that's available for you to take action. Action that is not taken now doesn't get taken. As you're reading this, try to do something next week. Really put out all the effort you can to get something done next week. Were you able to do it? Of course not. Because next week isn't here, and it never will be. It is always now, and now is the time to act. Do it now and it will get done.
Trying is not enough. The only way to accomplish something is to do it, to do whatever it takes, to keep making the effort until the goal is reached. If at first you don't succeed, you've still learned something valuable about how to proceed. If you've already tried, that's fine. Keep going. Make use of that experience. You have a valuable perspective on what works and what doesn't. Stop trying and start taking whatever action is necessary to reach the goal. Learn from the mistakes and disappointments. Keep going. Start right now to really make it happen.
There is always something you can do, some step that will start to move you in the direction of your goal. Envision the ultimate goal, and work backwards, step by step, until you arrive at something that can be done right now. Then do it. "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Take that step right now, and then the next one. Repeat until done.
Whatever you wish to accomplish, there's no reason why you cannot start right now. When you're truly committed to reaching your goal, there will always be something that can be done right away, to get started. Action will get you where you want to go. Excuses will hold you back. The choice is yours. What are you waiting for?
RALPH S. MARSTON, JR. publishes The Daily Motivator, a daily online motivational message. You can read it on his website http://www.greatday.com, or subscribe and have it sent, along with a longer monthly newsletter by the same name, to your email address six days a week. Ralph is also the author of The Daily Motivator To Go. He lives in Austin, TX.
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Reprinted with permission from Upline, Marston Feature - November/December 1998, 888-UPLINE-1, http://www.upline.com