Three frogs were sitting on a log. One decided to jump into the pond. How many were left? Did you answer two? Think again. You see, I didn’t say one jumped in; I just said one DECIDED to jump in. It’s not a technical point that I’m debating, but a sad fact of life. For there’s a big difference between deciding to do something and actually doing it.
How many New Year resolutions did you decide to make that never came to pass? How many items on your To Do list have just been lingering there, but never brought to life? A decision without action is no more powerful than indecision or no decision. Decisions are powerless unless we follow through. And when we follow through with action, we will be greeted with success. In fact, the etymological meaning of “succeed” is “that which follows,” for success is what follows action.
Decisions without action are preparations for living without living. We need to act to experience life. We either make things happen or let things happen to us. There’s a six-word formula for success: Think things through, then follow through.
Some people live as though their life credo is “Ready, Aim. Aim. Aim .” But once a decision is made, it is time for action. After all, if we do the wrong thing, at least we can learn something from our mistake. But inaction teaches us nothing, other than regret.
Often, the cause of inaction is the fear of failure. But isn’t it better to try to do something and fail than to try to do nothing and succeed? Consider for a moment the life of a lobster. When it grows to be about a pound, it faces a crisis. For it has grown too big for its shell. To continue living, it’ll have to shed its shell and grow a new one. But this takes about two days. So, until then, it remains vulnerable to attack and being eaten. Yet, there is no choice. To continue living, it must risk life itself. We are no different, for life is synonymous with growth. To develop, we need to shed our limitations and grow new powers. To refuse to act doesn’t protect us, but suffocates us.
Our decisions are the clay we use to make bricks. And our actions are the bricks we use to create ourselves. We also choose the material to work with. Whether it’s shoddy or high quality is up to us.
The American Founder of Atari Computer, Nolan Bushnell, summarizes this idea this way, The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.
So, don’t sit up and take notice, but get up and take action, for the secret of getting ahead is getting started.