I love that quote from Plato. Reality is in doing, not wishing or wanting. Making the Decision. Starting. Persevering. When Diana Nyad was asked how she accomplished the swim from Cuba to Florida, she responded: “Just do it, find a way, never, ever quit.” Sounds easy.
Start with What – Not How
“How did she do that?” OMG that’s amazing – how do you do all that you do?” Questions involving ‘how’ lead you into a jungle of confusion. Never ask how. Only decide what. In an ideal life plan, you’ll have created your matrices of overriding life visions (e.g. happiness and joy, creative and meaningful work, health and fitness), then broad actions that will lead to the fulfillment of those visions, then specific actions that can be accomplished now. Always start with the vision, then work back to broad action. When an action shows up that is part of the vision, make a decision to do it. It wouldn’t have shown up if it weren’t meant for you. Make the decision to do it, despite all reasonable evidence that it wouldn’t be possible for you (the hows don’t line up).
Once you decide, and become committed to the decision, then committed to your commitment, all sorts of ‘hows’ will show up. The time off will appear. Extra money will show up. People and events will conspire to show up to help lead you to complete the commitment. But if you don’t decide, then commit to the decision, these hows never show up. I don’t know how it works but Goethe was absolutely right. It just does.
Don’t Know Your Vision or Purpose?
Flip a coin. Turn right. Do something. Move. Don’t wait until you uncover your meaning. The meaning develops while you’re on the way. Move in the direction of your most probable purpose, or one that draws you more than others. If you wait until you find your perfect purpose or your “why” before moving, you might never move at all. A completely new life can begin any day of the year, any hour of the day any moment of the hour, at the time that you make a decision that it will.
If you are reading this in context of organizational change, know that a clear direction is never needed for you to take charge and change your section or area of work. If you are aware of your company’s values and mission, you have the authority and responsibility to continually move in the direction indicated by the mission. As a leader, you need only begin to act like one. Behavioral change creates attitude change.
Make the Decision and Start
A wish won’t do it, a dream won’t do it, a Vision Board won’t do it, a resolution won’t do it. If you just ‘think’ and ‘believe’, you won’t ‘grow rich’ unless you take action. Self-mastery and accomplishment involves ‘acting upon,’ not just ‘wishing about.’ You have to actively work on what you want to accomplish in order to make it happen.
Do you find that you keep enrolling for new courses yet fail to apply what you learned in the last one? Attending seminars to find out more, taking sales courses to learn better closes – might be a beginning, but it’s only when you undertake and complete the thing that is hard for you, that your self-confidence grows.
How Strength Grows
Strength grows with the actions you take during the journey toward the finish. The steps are only the externals. The real reward lies in what happens in between. It is in the striving that self-esteem grows the most. The more you actively and positively engage in the challenge, the more you realize that you have the potential to emerge stronger. Henry David Thoreau said: “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
Thomas Paine’s 1776 treatise proclaimed that, “we are standing at a point where we can create a new world.” He didn’t say we are standing at a point where we can imagine a new world. The word create is an action verb that involves movement, or the ‘doing of.’ You might be standing at the threshold of new ventures or new decisions that might take you to where you have never been before, and you have a choice to make. ‘Trying’ to do it, starting it tomorrow, working only when you feel like it, allowing yourself excuses, wishing for it – these neither begin it, nor complete it. Just do it.