Forty things I’ve learned in my first 40 years. Learn more about the series here.
4 of 40…
One year ago, almost to the date, I took action. After a morning meeting that didn’t sit well with me, I simply decided it was time to move forward with life. No more waiting for the perfect time. I told myself, “Go for a lunchtime run and if you feel the same after, take care of business.” I ran. I showered. I felt the same. I acted.
I didn’t wake up that September morning planning to quit my job. Quitting without a plan was probably not the wisest of decisions. However, taking action over waiting for the perfect moment was a beautiful and necessary thing. I sometimes wonder what life would be like if I hadn’t acted.
Action vs. perfection
Perfection rarely comes. Fortunately, action is always available in our back pocket.
When we act, things happen. Wonderful things happen. And those worries that rattle around in our brain while contemplating action usually evaporate in the wake of movement. For all their macho-ness, our worries, too, aren’t nearly as perfect as they present themselves.
Perfect running conditions (yeah right!)
Similar to the above story, there are rarely perfect conditions for running. There’s not enough time. It’s too early and too dark. The wind is out of the northeast and I’d prefer it be from the southwest. I’m tired and sore. What if I slip on the ice?
More days than not, that’s how my brain sounds. The best thing to do? Tie my shoes and shuffle out the door. Put another way – take action! What transpires from there is indeed wonderful.
Some other points to think about:
- One of my favorite interview questions is, “Which one of these resonates with you more and why… About right, now or Just right, later?”
- Action usually needs a strong companion called courage. This companion is something that I’ve had to progressively nuture over the last 20 years. I took far less action 20 years ago because I lacked the courage to do so. Can you relate?
- A series of small actions often leads to big things. Momentum is a gift worth grasping.
- Though I have a growing bias towards action, I don’t believe it’s always the answer. Sometimes the best action is to sleep on it. For example, I don’t believe in making a decision while in a bad mood – that’s usually a recipe ripe for disappointment.
Takeaway 4 of 40
A colleague of mine named Drew recently shared this video on YouTube with me on a concept called The Five Second Rule. This one has nothing to do with eating crackers off a dirty floor! The basic idea is that we often irrationally talk ourselves out of taking action – even simple actions like getting out of bed. The approach recommended is to countdown from 5 and then act.
Choose action over perfection.
Take the first action today – whether big or small! I can assure you that the perfect moment is not awaiting you tomorrow.
“Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.” ~ Neil Gaiman
Now, I must heed my own advice and stop trying to perfect this post. No more editing, just hit the publish button, Mark!
I’m continuing to stay free of Facebook and Twitter — it’s not a judgment, just a way of me choosing how to use my time! Again, I have nothing against either social media platform and all of you who are actively engaged. Due to my lack of presence on these platforms, please feel free to share on my behalf. Thank you!