Taking Action Vs. Talking Action
Toward the end of every December and the beginning of January, a lot of people begin to make resolutions. They resolve to lose weight, get outside more, find a better job, finish college, write a book, learn an instrument, and other grand gestures. Inevitably, about the second week of January, most of those resolutions are forgotten.
What happened? Were they bad resolutions? Probably not. The desire to lose weight or better yourself in another way isn't inherently bad. As a matter of fact, imagine how much better off the world would be if folks decided to take care of themselves or to improve themselves in some way each year.
Brian Tracy said, “One of the marks of successful people is that they are action-oriented. One of the marks of average people is that they are talk-oriented.”
It is so much easier to say you want to do something rather than actually put in the time to make it happen. It all basically comes down to those people who take action versus those people who talk action.
All of my life I've been an avid reader. I love books, and I love stories. I think that's what drives so many of my presentations: I am a storyteller. After years of reading books, I decided to finally sit down and try to write one. What I found out was that writing a book isn't as easy as it had always seemed to me.
My first novel took years to write. I would knock a chapter or two out one night, do another few chapters a few days later, but ultimately I got frustrated at how long it was taking and kept putting it away. For some reason, I thought it would take a few hours to write 65,000 words, and that was an incredibly unrealistic expectation.
One day I finally made a commitment to finish and forced myself to keep at it until it was done. A first draft was written...then I edited it several times...then I edited the edited versions...then I gave it to people I trusted to read it and give me feedback and I went back and rewrote based on that feedback. Eventually, some ten years after I'd written the first word, I finished it.
My next book Stolen Lives took eighteen months. The book after that, Chase the Shadows, took a year. Ignore the Impossible--my first motivational book--took me three months. I just finished the first draft of my latest novel in September, and I hammered it out in less than two weeks.
What changed? I stopped talking about how I wanted to finish a book and just buckled down to do it. It took a lot of effort (believe it or not, it takes work to write a book) and a lot of time that could have been spent doing other things.
But I've also learned that it got easier the more I did it. I still have to edit my work a good bit, but I have found my voice when writing. I notice when something doesn't sound right fairly quickly rather than having to catch it later in another read-through.
Today I am challenging you to take action. What is that goal you've always wanted to accomplish? What is that desire you've talked about for years? Stop talking and planning and "some day" thinking, and just get started.
Take the first step. You'll be amazed at how easy that second one will seem.