“One kernel is felt in a hogshead; one drop of water helps to swell the ocean; a spark of fire helps to give light to the world. None are too small, too feeble, too poor to be of service. Think of this and act.” ― Hannah More
How can we take great action in our life?
Whether you have new resolutions or if you have old commitments to fulfill, taking consistent and big action should be the center of your strategy to accomplish them.
Do you sometimes feel frustrated that you experience distractions and obstacles that prevent you from taking more action.
Perhaps you intend to take more action in your life, but simply do not have the time or the energy to do so?
How can you realign your direction and your time to make meaningful action a priority?
Let us now move right to the 18 ideas on taking great action!
1. How Do You Spend Your Time Today?
“The future depends on what you do today.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
What you do today in your spare time and in your work time determines your results and how your future is going to shape out.
The real question is: Are you spending your time as a victim or do you spend your time taking meaningful ACTION? The choice is yours to make every single day and every single moment.
Make an inventory of your time today and this week.
Schedule in quality time taking meaningful action towards your goals.
Get out there and get busy right now.
Small actions + intentions = Great Eventual Change
“It doesn’t matter what you did or where you were…it matters where you are and what you’re doing. Get out there! Sing the song in your heart and NEVER let anyone shut you up!!” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
2. The Roots And Causes Of Action
“All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, and desire.” ― Aristotle
What are some of the reasons that we take action or do not. Have you ever wondered about that question?
Let us look at each of the causes as told by Aristotle:
Chance: You are not so sure, but sure enough, you stumble upon action.
Nature: You love to go and take action! It is in your second nature.
Compulsion: Actions have a cause and trigger or cue, a behavior cycle and a reward, thus making it impossible for you to not react in some way to the cause.
Habit: You take action based on the habits that you have set up like flossing your teeth.
Reason: Your conscious thinking mind reasons and grapples on why you should take action. You push yourself to motivate and reason yourself into action. This is the rider that Jonathan Haidt describes in the wonderful book, Happiness Hypothesis. Read quote below!
Passion, Emotion and Desire: I have added emotion to the list and bundled it with passion and desire and together they are the most powerful influences of taking action. This is the elephant that Jonathan Haidt describes in the Happiness Hypothesis. Read quote below!
“In sum, the rider is an advisor or servant; not a king, president, or charioteer with a firm grip on the reins. The rider is Gazzaniga’s interpreter module: it is conscious, controlled thought. The elephant, in contrast, is everything else. The elephant includes the gut feelings, visceral reactions, emotions, and intuitions that comprise much of the automatic system. The elephant and rider each have their own intelligence, and when they work together well they enable the unique brilliance of human beings. But they don’t always work together well.” – Jonathan Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom
When emotions and the visceral feelings of the passion and desire to take action due to great causes get aligned with the conscious reasons to take action, action becomes inspired and unstoppable.
3. Are You Delegating Action To Others?
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
This is one of my favorite quotes by the Mahatma and has the great power to transform our lives. Many of us want things to change and our lives to become better, but delegate the task to others, luck, time, age…you name it.
The only real way to see great change in your life is to take action and become the change that you want so badly in your life. What a wonderful way to live!
Ask: What do I want changed in my life and in my immediate realm of influence?
Take action to ensure that you are living by example and becoming the change that you so badly want in your life. Lead by example.
DO not wait for permission or inspiration to begin your life’s great work.
“Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.” ― Susan Sontag
4. Are You Just Moving Or Are You Taking Action That Matters?
“Never confuse movement with action.” ― Ernest Hemingway
We have all seen very busy people who never seem to get much done, but like to stay busy for the sake of it. Movement is great, but it is not the same as action and busywork should not be a replacement for high quality action!
Movement is more concerned with keeping up appearances while the real action is concerned with making a dent in the universe. Which side are you on?
Give up being stressed, having huge lists and doing a lot of busywork and replace it with a small amount of action that is meaningful and brings you massive results.
Remember Pareto’s Principle: Also called the 80-20 rule states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your work. Identify and amplify the 20%.
5. Are You Only Saying That You Will Take Action But Not Following Through?
“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” ― C.G. Jung
It is great to proclaim action or to confide in others about the great work that you will do, but even better is the doing of that work.
Too much talk and too little action leaves you with little respect in the eyes of others.
“I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions.” ― Dorothy Day
It is best to do what you say and take action if you proclaim something. If you want to make an indelible impression with your time in this universe, do the deeds and let go of the words.
“A thousand words leave not the same deep impression as does a single deed.” ― Henrik Ibsen
Talk less and work more may sound harsh, but it is good advice.
Do not confide in your plans unless you absolutely mean them. And if you do…you absolutely need to fulfill the verbal proclamation of your desires and greatest goals.
6. Do You Have The Faith And The Belief To Take Action?
“Faith is about doing. You are how you act, not just how you believe.” ― Mitch Albom, Have a Little Faith: a True Story
Taking great action and staying in the discomfort zone takes great faith and belief in yourself and in your most cherished dreams and goals.
Often, you fall short in taking action because you believe that you cannot do it or do not have the trust and faith in your own abilities to go through.
The more you take action, the more you will have the belief and faith to take more action. So take some action now even if you do not believe in yourself.
Tell your conscious mind of all your prior achievements and successes and get excited and involve favorable emotions to get your limbic subconscious brain on board.
“What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing.” ― Pablo Picasso
7. Is Happiness And Action Related?
“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. ” ― William James
Everyone wants to be happy, but the relationship between taking action and happiness cannot be overemphasized.
Even positive psychology has shown that happiness comes first and success follows after that. I believe in order to be happy, we need to consistently take action that moves us closer to our center of happiness.
You will see that the happy have made it a habit of taking action and the unhappy simply complain and ruminate in their thoughts of unfairness and get caught up in their stories and do not take enough action.
Identify what makes you happy.
Take action to make it happen and make your happiness a priority.
8. Are Your Actions Kind And Compassionate?
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention.” ― Kahlil Gibran, The Essential Kahlil Gibran
Do you intend to be kind and compassionate or do you take a small step or action towards that ideal?
Too many times, we think we want to be kind, but do not actually take the actions that show that we really are. You may think about how limited your resources are or how your lack of great influence will improve someone’s life. But it really does.
I think and deeply believe that every small action of kindness and compassion matters in the life of someone else.
The next time you have the intention of being kind, a good thought, a feeling, express it in the form of an action that touches and uplifts the life of someone else.
9. How are Creativity, Imagination and Action related?
“Imagination means nothing without doing.” ― Charles Chaplin
Give wings to your imagination and creativity by taking great action.
Ideas and imagination are important first steps, but until you implement the great ideas that you have, they are just ideas.
Make time and space for your imagination and creativity to flourish and blossom by taking action.
Remember that highly creative people are great action takers and always work up greater numbers and see what sticks to the wall.
Take action on your best creative idea now and implement it to fruition. Even if your idea is an utter failure, you will learn a lot in the process.
10. Are You Overthinking And Not Getting Into The Action Mode?
“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action comes, stop thinking and go in.” ― Napoleon Bonaparte
The thinking has its place and importance, but overthinking, brooding and rumination are counter-productive.
Overthinking and analysis paralysis are often ways to mask fear and hesitation to act and we stay content in the zone of safety and comfort.
Plan and think through your plans, but take action immediately afterwards.
If you are getting stuck in the analysis mode, take one small action and begin the process anyways.
11. Do You Have The Courage To Take Great Action?
“People will always have opinions about your decision because they’re not courageous enough to take action on their opinion.” ― Steve Maraboli
One of the major reasons why people criticize action takers to be careless and selfish is because they secretly resent them and want to be like them. Deep down they ache to take action but are not able to muster up the guts to go through with action.
Remember that if you are an action taker, there will always be people who do not like your decisions. It is your job to not let their fear and lack of courage and criticism to contaminate your power of action.
Do not get swayed by the opinions of others who do not have the courage to take big action.
Associate yourself with people who demonstrate the courage of action.
12. DO You Have A Vision, A grand Plan?
“Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare.” – Japanese Proverb
Do you have a vision for how your life should be like in 1 month, 1 year, 5 years or 10 years?
What actions are you taking towards that Vision?
Or do you just take one day at a time taking actions without a vision? As the proverb above says, it is best to have a good vision backed up with action.
Write out your vision for 1 year.
Break up the vision into many small manageable parts.
Take the first part and associate actions with it.
Begin with the first action…
13. Is There A Right Time To Begin?
“Do not wait: the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.” ― Napoleon Hill
This is a wonderful reminder from Napoleon Hill to begin where you are instead of hoping for a better place, for more resources, and for more time. Many of us think that a better time will come along where we will have the command of better tools and skills. Alas, that time never usually comes for most of us.
However, if you begin to believe that the time is now and you will use the skills and tools at your disposal now, better ones just come along. Ad then in retrospect, you will realize that it was not a lack of tools, but our excuses that kept us from taking action.
Begin Right Now!
Improvise and make do with what you have at your disposal. You will be amazed at your resourcefulness and your newly found luck!
“Man who waits for roast duck to fly into mouth must wait very, very long time.” ~ Chinese proverb
14. Do You Act And Then Let Go, Or Do You Spin Your Wheels?
“Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” ― Lao Tzu
Take great action, but do not be overly attached to the actions. In other words, as the ancients have always maintained, we should not get in our own way of results and fruits of our actions.
You may have been taught to keep at it or spin the hamster wheel till you get the results, but there is great wisdom in doing your best and then letting go of the outcome. Getting caught in the stories of how things should turn out only takes away and discourages from taking more action.
Act and then let go.
Allow the paradox of “do” and then “receive and allow” to permeate your consciousness and allow flow into your life.
15. Do You Complete The Circle: Thoughts, Feelings, Words and Actions?
“Not in his speech, not in his thoughts, I see his greatness, only in his actions, in his life.” ― Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
Complete the great circle today. Go all the way in the circle of thoughts, feelings, words and actions. When your thoughts drive your feelings and fuel your words, you give great momentum to your actions.
You are in a state of consonance between thoughts, feelings and actions. If the circle breaks or if you are not in consonance, your actions may not have the same power or efficacy.
Bring consonance or harmony between your thoughts, feelings, words and actions.
16. Are You Fearful Of Taking Action?
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.” ― Neil Gaiman
The greatest destroyer of action and dreams is fear. It is the fear of failure, the fear of not appearing in a certain way and the fear of falling apart.
The irony with fear is that it is a great big construct that becomes even greater in our minds fueled by false evidence and thought. Have the courage to step into the discomfort and look fear squarely in the eye and take action.
If you are afraid, you should take a small action step to embolden yourself.
Remember, nothing dispels fear faster than action, however small it might be.
17. Are Your Actions Of Habit Leading You To Excellence?
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle
Action is a muscle like anything else and it is a habit above anything else. Get too complaisant and put too many things off and the muscle becomes weak. Jump in and begin taking action and your muscle will be greatly strengthened.
Repeated actions make our habits and those in turn define excellence. Having phases of “action mode” is not sufficient. You will need to set up “action habits” that will lead you into a definite life of excellence.
Identify and set up action habits.
Rinse, lather and repeat them till they become habits or second nature to you.
Make sure that your action habits align you towards personal excellence.
18. What Are The Two Rules Of Success?
“There are only two rules for being successful. One, figure out exactly what you want to do, and two, do it.” – Mario Cuomo
What is it that you exactly want? Can you explain what you want in a couple of sentences? Can you explain your plan on the back of an envelope as Richard Branson suggests? Become unequivocally clear about what you want and why you want it. Make it simple and make it clear.
Then take action to make it happen and do not allow any excuses or limitations to come in the way.
Become clear about what and why you desire something, i.e. Your great grand life plan.
Take massive action to accomplish it. No excuses, no complaints, just massive action!
Bonus: DO You Live Life And Take Action Like It Is A Grand Adventure?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”- – Mark Twain
I hope and wish that you are able to take action in your life, your great production and your grand adventure.
Now over to you! Please let me know in the comments below if the above action ideas resonated with you and have a rocking, awesome New Year!
Photo Credit: hobvias sudoneighm via Compfight
at the begun i start my 2014 like nothing special but after read this article i got some inspiration !!! Thanks…
Harish Kumar says
You are most welcome, Letitsia! Thanks a lot for your comment and stay inspired!
Wow! This blog is full of amazing insight regarding how we spend our time. It is a subject that was included in my New Year Resolutions. I have always written out my goals for the year. Napoleon Hill is a great mentor in that arena.
Lately, I have been trying to focus more on the big picture. I love Lao Tzu’s quote about stepping back. This motivates me to get a new perspective.
Thank you for sharing and Happy New Year!
Harish Kumar says
Thanks a lot for your comment and your kind words, Karen!
I agree that the work of Napoleon Hill is a wonderful reminder to write out goals and go for it. I think that writing out goals crystallizes them in our minds and in the physical world and a lot of great teachers really advise us to do that.
Lao Tzu’s wordd give us the perspective of not spinning our wheels and let it go and allow things to come into our lives…more like effortless action!