There is a huge misunderstanding that most of you are the victim of: thinking that you need to be ready to do something, that you need to get rid of fear or discomfort to do something.
One of my clients is dealing with an issue. To solve the issue, I asked him to talk to people in the same kind of business as his, to pick their brains what to do in the winters when there is no snow… i.e. there is no business, no revenue… and he still has to pay his employees.
He is afraid. I get that. But he is not doing what I asked him to do, and I don’t get that… WTF? Is he going to let the company die? What a waste.
When I checked him, a minute ago, he had turned Life Force aka ambition capacity off… dead as a door nail.
All this work for nothing… He may not benefit, but you could… so here is the law of action, teaching you that action doesn’t need you to feel like action, it only needs you to act… Duh.
The capacity that’s missing, interestingly, is the capacity of seeing hierarchy: what comes first, what comes second. And it seems that culture is repeating this delusion… that you have to stop being afraid before you can act. B.S.
The Law of Action
No matter what we feel or know, no matter what our potential gifts or talents, only action brings them to life. Those of us who only think we understand concepts, such as commitment, courage, and love, one day discover that we only know when we act; doing becomes understanding.
Vision isn’t enough unless combined with venture. It’s not enough to stare up the steps unless we also step up the stairs. VANCE HAVNER
Action is not easy in this world; forces of doubt and inertia are everywhere, even within our own mind and body. Still, we must act. Words may be cheap, concepts and philosophies may be elegant, ideas may abound, and good intentions may sound impressive. Turning all the words, concepts, and ideas into action requires energy; it requires sacrifice. We have to overcome insecurity and hurdle past self-doubt, lethargy, apathy, excuses, and a hundred good reasons not to rock the boat, to stay the course. But we keep getting the same message from life: It’s better to do what we need to do than not do it and have a good reason. This states, as well as anything, the Law of Action.
Thousands of motivational speakers thunder out passionate and eloquent ideas like this just to inspire us to get off the couch and make a new life, to put out some effort, some will, some discipline. Still, most of us take action only when the emotional, mental, or physical pain gets so bad that we have to.
Let’s change this. Let’s acknowledge that action and change require initial discomfort, effort, and energy. Let’s even say we’re really ready to take some needed action in our life. But how? It boils down to one of the most powerful three-word phrases in the English language: Just do it.
Most of us wait for permission from our insides to do anything. We wait to “feel motivated.” We wait until fear is looking the other way, until self-doubt and insecurity step aside and give us permission to act. But action is stronger than subjectivity; there are times when we have to act with strength and courage no matter how we’re feeling or what we’re thinking.
The peaceful warriors of this world don’t wait for permission; they know and sense what action to take, and they choose the way of courage and integrity. If their hearts confirm it, they act, despite feelings of fear, self-doubt, or insecurity that may arise. They act and let their subjective life—their thoughts and feelings—run to catch up. “Wait, you can’t do this! You’re not up to it!” our mind whispers, echoing voices from the past. “You’ll make a fool of yourself! You’ll only get hurt! You’ll fail!” All of these voices may pass through our mind, but we act anyway. Soon, these voices or feelings, once so loud and compelling, stop coming around so often.
Once when I was six years old, I found myself standing on a second-story rooftop of a house under construction. Twenty feet below me was a big sandpile. My older friends had already jumped, but I was only six, and I was afraid. They tried to coax me, tease me, encourage me, and reassure me for about forty-five minutes, when one of the boys finally yelled, “Stop thinking! Just stop thinking and jump!” It struck me in that moment that no matter how frightened I felt, I knew how to bend my knees, I knew how to learn forward, and I knew how to push off. So I stopped thinking, leaned forward, and was suddenly airborne—a wonderful feeling—and a valuable lesson I never forgot.
I once coached a gymnast I’ll call Jill. She had worked hard on a new dismount from the uneven bars. She had done it many times in the spotting belt, then with an assist from me. Now, the time had come for her to do it alone. She was well prepared and ready; she knew it, and I knew it. She got up on the bar and was about to perform the dismount when she stopped. “I can’t do it, Coach; I’m afraid.”
“Oh, I see,” I responded. “Yes, I think I’d be feeling a lot of fear, too; after all, it’s the first time you’re doing it by yourself. Where do you feel the fear?”
“Well, in my stomach and in my muscles; they feel kind of weak.”
“So you feel afraid.”
“Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s see you do it.”
At first, she looked confused. “But, Coach, I told you, I can’t—I’m afraid!”
“Whatever gave you the idea that fear was some kind of reason not to do something?”
“The only time you have a chance to show courage is when you’re afraid, Jill.” Then I added, “It’s fine to feel afraid; it can be a healthy sign that you’re not ready for something. But in this case, you are. Fear is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. Feel it as much as you want, Jill; experience it completely. Then do the dismount.”
Jill hesitated for a moment; then with a look of determination mixed with just a bit of terror, she swung around the bar, let go, and did a beautiful dismount. She had understood and applied the Law of Action.
Every day we all get opportunities to face fear or inertia and act anyway—not by leaping off rooftops into sandpiles or doing gymnastic stunts, but in even more important ways, such as taking the risk to express how we feel, to conquer old habits, or in other ways to experience the power and magic of the Law of Action.
The following exercises can help you achieve alignment with the Law of Action through direct experience and application.
1. Imagine yourself standing in your home or office, about ten feet inside the doorway. The door stands open, it’s a beautiful day out, and you want to go outside, because “outside” represents reaching your highest hopes and most cherished goals—living the life you were born to live.
2. Now, recall the last time you felt fear or self-doubt or insecurity. Feel the fear, and then translate that feeling into an image, as if the feeling
jumped outside you and turned into a being—small or large, male or female, human or not. When the image forms, let’s call it Mr. or Ms. Fear (or Self-Doubt or Insecurity).
Let yourself create a mental videotape of the following scene: Feel yourself walking toward the open doorway, out into the sunlight, out into your future. You come closer to the doorway, but just as you’re about to walk through, Mr./Ms. Fear appears in front of you, and cautions, “Wait, you can’t do this! It’s too much for you!”
4. Let Mr./Ms. Fear stop you, just the way you’ve let yourself be stopped or slowed down or confused so many times in your life. Fully experience this.
5. You have now created your video; now replay this scene—going to the doorway and getting stopped by Mr./Ms. Fear. Replay it regular speed or fast forward, again and again, exactly the same way. Each time, experience what it feels like to let Mr./Ms. Fear stop you. Do not change the scenario; just repeat it, and feel it, until you get angry—not afraid or sad, but angry. This may take a while. When you feel really angry, you’re ready for the final step.
6. Play the scene once more, but this time, when Mr./Ms. Fear steps in front of you and says, “Wait, you can’t…,” or threatens you, or pleads with you, or reasons with you, just walk out the door as if he/she wasn’t even there.
7. Remember how much you want to go outside and continue on your way, on your life path. Despite all of the reasons you “can’t” or “shouldn’t” or “aren’t capable enough,” follow through; focus on the goal. Walk out the door.
8. Notice how different this feels. Experience the principle and power of pure action.
Applying the Law of Action
Action is stronger than subjectivity. No matter what you feel or think, you can still act.
1. Recall what you feel like when fear comes in just as you’re about to express how you feel or take a risk, such as going back to school, taking on a new responsibility, or making a commitment.
2. Recall how you’ve allowed fear or self-doubt or insecurity to stop you in the past.
3. Consider that if life puts a hurdle in your path, you had better become a hurdler.
4. To deal with fear, act as if you felt courageous; to deal with self-doubt, act as if you felt fully capable of any such task; to deal with
insecurity, act as if you felt centered and confident. Whatever else you do, act! Just do it. Just act, and let the feelings of fear, self-doubt, and insecurity fade in the dust trail you leave behind.
Let me know if you are willing to test this law.