Taking Action: Like a Match to Tinder

Remember in a previous chapter I said that your attitude is like the yeast added to your bread recipe? ACTION is like the heat from the oven that merges all the ingredients and transforms them into a delicious treat.
Without action, everything I’ve said in this book so far is worthless. Perhaps “worthless” is too strong a word. There is merit in developing a mindset of success, in adopting a positive attitude, and in learning to love yourself. These habits can continue to serve you in positive ways even when you’re not working toward a goal.
As important as that is, action is undoubtedly a crucial aspect of success. You can set goals and change your mindset until you are blue in the face but if you never take action, nothing will change in your physical surroundings.
How to End Procrastination
Many of us fear taking action. We love making lists, forming plans and learning new techniques but when it comes to putting it all into motion, we freeze. We procrastinate. We hesitate. We find excuses not to work on our goals anymore.
Or, we do take action, but not on the important stuff. Oh no, we do more research, we refine our plans, we keep ourselves very busy so it SEEMS like we’re taking action – but we’re actually just killing time.
The most common reason for this fear (besides the ones we’ve covered so far: fear of success, low self-worth, worries about what others will think, etc.) may surprise you: fear of commitment.
The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.
– George Bernard Shaw
We are afraid that once we begin moving forward we will be officially locked into our goal and we are suddenly forced to sink or swim! If we can simply avoid taking action, we can remain safely in the planning stage and not risk anything. We can convince ourselves that we did all we could, but it just didn’t work out, there were circumstances beyond our control – so it’s not OUR FAULT that we’re not successful.
There is also another possibility, another reason why taking action seems so hard: sheer intimidation. This fear is often greatly reduced by setting reasonable goals, but we can also be irrationally fearful about moving forward even if our goals seem manageable.
The most effective way to deal with a fear of taking action is to simply disregard it and take action anyway!

That sounds like an impossible challenge if you are feeling paralyzed by fear, but I do have a bit of advice that should make you feel better. The fear of taking action almost ALWAYS vanishes shortly after you begin moving forward. You suddenly realize that you were worrying over nothing, and you actually begin to enjoy making progress. If you keep with it long enough and frequently enough, exhilaration takes over and you find you can’t hold yourself back any longer. What a wonderful feeling that is!
If you absolutely feel terrified about taking action, take some time to look over your plans and come up with one SMALL action step that you can take immediately. Just one! Then take it. Then pick another small action step, and take that one too.
Making Your Action Steps Focused
However – make sure your action steps are FOCUSED. Taking random action can be a good start sometimes (if nothing else, it can help build your confidence), but ultimately you’ll be going in circles.
Instead, take a few minutes to identify the key steps that will create RESULTS. Think about the actions that will attract opportunities, get the attention of those in a position to help you, and create steady progress.
Then keep up with this process, gradually increasing the size or magnitude of your steps. If you don’t see immediate results, don’t despair! Keep at it and in a very short period of time you should be feeling much more confident and eager to keep going.

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