Have you ever wondered how to turn thoughts into actions? Here’s a riddle.
5 Frogs are sitting on a log. 4 of them decide to jump off. How many are left?
Did you guess 1? Wrong.
The answer is still 5. Four of them “decided”. That’s all they did.
There’s a difference between deciding and taking action. You’ve just got to look around and see how so many things we take for granted, started from an idea. Those ideas were thoughts put into action, either by an individual or as a collective group. The device you’re reading this on started from an idea. The chair you last sat on, or the bed you sleep in all started from a thought.
Nothing is learned or experienced without action. Taking action can be one of the most rewarding things, because not only does it remove the thoughts from our conscious minds, it gives us belief that what we think, we can succeed in.
A baby doesn’t learn how to walk by thinking about it. It takes them almost 1000 hours of practice. We don’t learn how to drive by thinking about it. We learn by taking action and driving. The hardest part about growing up is we find ourselves coming up with reasons why we can’t do something. Maybe we think our responsibilities get in the way, or the fear of stepping outside our comfort zone. Perhaps it’s the development of beliefs we’ve instilled in ourselves of what we can and can’t do because of what society tells us?
Learn To Be Uncomfortable
Whatever the case may be, to take action, we need to be okay with being comfortable in an uncomfortable environment. What does that mean? Here’s an example.
I’ve never been the quickest runner over distance. I was much more suited to short sprints. I remember rocking up to boxing training. We had our training laid out for us on the whiteboard every evening. When I arrived that night, a 6km run was first up, followed by strength and conditioning. The fear of running 6km set in. The initial thoughts of not being able to keep up, thinking “what if I stop” took control. It’s what was required of me to improve. I had no option, only excuses. I ran the 6km from the gym, ran over the bridges and around the river, not stopping and keeping a steady pace.
The uncomfortable environment was running that distance because I hadn’t done it in years. After finishing, the belief of doing another 6km when required was there because I took action, allowing myself to believe that the next time I’m required to run 6km I’ll do it. And do it better than before.
When we look at the most successful figures in our society, massive action has always been accompanied by an unshakeable belief that their ideal outcome was possible.
4 Ways To Take Action
We can focus on a few different things to reduce the time between our thoughts and turning them into actions.
1) Don’t Overthink
When we overthink things, analysis paralysis sets in. We will start to analyse things to the point where nothing gets done at all. Questioning how much time we need to commit, or obsessing with how conditions aren’t perfect are both examples of overthinking, causing us not to move forward.
2) Action Combats Fear
Action can be a cure for fear. The example of my 6km run attests to this concept. If you find yourself anxious and worried, become a doer and see how your confidence builds and fears are overcome.
3) Understand Conditions Won’t Be Perfect
There is no perfect time, only the present time. If we wait for everything to be perfect before taking action, we will be waiting a while. Life moves forward with obstacles always being presented. Taking action now allows us to make adjustments as we move along.
4) Be Present
An old Chinese proverb says “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” This tells us if we planted seeds 20 years ago, there would be a full tree with shade today. But if we don’t plant seeds today, 20 years in the future we will still be standing in the sun. Focus on the present.
Take Control Of Your Ideas
You probably have a few ideas of your own that you want to act, but would take away from your responsibilities such as family, your full-time job, or looking after the kids. The thought of having extra time to commit may seem near impossible. The idea you have doesn’t need to be made into a full-time job. An hour here or an hour there will all add up in the end and results will show. Repetition and consistency build results. When the kids go to bed, or during your lunch break are great times to cultivate and act on new passions and ideas you have.
The slinky was invented by accident. In 1943, engineer Richard James was trying to develop a spring that would support equipment on ships. When one of the springs fell off a shelf, it continued moving, which gave James the idea for a toy. James’ wife Betty came up with the name Slinky and the rest is history. So turn your thoughts into action and see the rewards roll in.
Related: Build Momentum: Use The Laws of Motion for Productivity