If Not Now Then When?

We all have an important power within ourselves. The spark that sets fire to the tinder of good intentions, plans, dreams … all of which are of no value unless acted upon. Marshall Goldsmith calls this the Mojo or the ‘spirit’. Seth Godin calls this ‘instigation capital’  a play of words on the traditionally accepted definitions of economic capital such as ‘capital’ itself, ‘social capital’ and so on. In his powerfully motivating books “Rhinoceros Success” and “Advanced Rhinocerology” Scott Alexander provides the metaphor of a 6000 pound hulking rhinoceros with its 2 inch thick armor plated skin charging through the jungle intent only on capturing its prey, obstacles be dammed. Anthony Robbins, the original motivational super star, urges us to take massive action.

Nor is this power applicable only to individuals. In an article in Fortune magazine the CEO of Southwest Airlines, a consistently top performer in the US airline industry, was quoted as saying that their only strategy is taking action.

When you reach an age like where I am now, it could be different ages for different people, wisdom is not the monopoly of the old Experience is either capital that you can draw on to push you through every day obstacles to your goals or it can be a source of regret hanging around your neck like a millstone, dragging you down spiritually and physically. I hope no one is ever in the latter position. If you watch movies you will sometimes see how someone fumbles around and then says ‘lets start over again’ and voila just like that the past is erased. There is no memory, no residue of past mistakes. Alas life is not like that. There is no starting over again. Sure you can atone for past sins, change your ways going forward and live like the bad things never occurred in the first place. But you are not starting over. You cannot erase what you did in the past. Time once gone is gone for ever. So you are not starting over but only starting new from wherever you are.

This is such an important point to reflect and accept.

Bob Proctor says most people live their lives like they are going to live forever. Mortality is never a thought until it is too late and then they are on their death beds regretting living a life for others and never for self. Regretting not following their heart, not summoning the courage to walk up to the boy or girl of their dreams, not risking moving into the discomfort zone. Keep death in your mind constantly, it is not a morbid habit. You get to appreciate the joys of living, you get to count your daily blessings only when you remember that all this will end soon… too soon for some.

Jim Rohn, another great philosopher, used to urge us to keep to a regular daily habit of journal entry. This was something I was doing long before I came across Jim but not consistently and without realizing an important benefit of journal keeping. A regular habit of journal keeping forces us to reflect and ponder on our day. In order to do this it slows us down, it gets us off the treadmill of live even if it is for just a few minutes. Have you ever had days where you were so tied up in a project at work or in your business that one day rolled into another and before you knew it, the weekend was upon you. You may have then paused for a minute and wondered what the heck had just happened. Where did the last 5 days of my life go. I have been in this situation several times. Let me tell you it is not a nice experience. If you have not experienced it and would like to be forewarned of its miserable consequences I recommend watching Adam Sandler’s movie ‘Click’. A very atypical Adam Sandler moive it is packed with poignant wisdom. Ignore the ending where Hollywood being Hollywood gets the hero to start his life all over again. If only.

Keep a regular journal and get to live your life one day at a time. Your life is too important to not be pondered upon and written about.

Why is taking action important?

1 ) Action is where the rubber meets the road.

Is it possible to accomplish anything by doing nothing? People mistake dreaming for doing. That is delusional. As a young man I used to day dream about the kind of man I wanted to become when I got older. It was easy…it was seductive. And it did nothing. Any philosophy where action does not take center place is only an intellectual pastime destined to gratify you with false pleasures.

One of the periods of my life where I took massive and consistent action was in preparing for the engineering entrance exams. In India these tend to be extremely competitive. I studied 13 to 16 hours a day, every day, for about four months. My family and friends were surprised. So was I! It was a turning point in my life. Studying so hard like that, a practice I was not used to, did not break me. Instead it made me. I was energized, excited and felt like a man on a mission. I bought into the action habit. And by the way I did get into the engineering college of choice.

Taking action is the only way to change your life.

2) Hurry up there is no time!

Recently I had a startling experience of how fast time really flies. I am a member of Toastmasters, the world’s largest public speaking organization. Every year around the same time, we pay our membership dues to our club treasurer who aggregates the money and pays it out to Toastmasters International. Well I got an email from Toni our treasurer about membership dues. I opened it thinking it was confirmation for the payment I sent her. On the contrary it was a note for fresh payment dues! It seemed only a few days back that I paid my annual dues. What I thought was a few days back was really almost a year ago! Frightening. Don’t delay taking action. As our life gets more complicated our individual earths spin faster and faster.

3) Action is the greatest drug ever invented.

Its sweeps your blues, fears and worries away. It is by far the best drug I know whose only side effects are multiple improvements in several areas of your life. Check out my blog post about what taking action did to me on one bad day http://www.ebook-of-the-week.com/blog/the-healing-power-of-work/

Ever heard of Robert B Parker. His crime novels established him as the most important influence in American detective novels in the past 3 decades. He started his first novel only after he turned 40. Or how about Isaac Asimov. Widely considered a master of science fiction he wrote prolifically with more than 500 titles to his credit. For 40 years in a row he used to write non stop from 6 AM to 12 noon. Every day. Like Ernst Hemingway he considered ‘writer’s block’ to just be an excuse.

Savor every day of your remaining life not forgetting that death is right around the corner and take action…massive action.


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#1 FreshBlogger Carnival of Personal Development #1 at FreshBlogger on 03.21.11 at 11:02 am

[...] presents If Not Now Then When? posted at Things That Teach Us, saying, “Waiting for something to happen in your life could [...]

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