We are busy for the most part of our lives, yet, how often are we really taking action? What does it even mean to really take action? I have been wondering about this for a long time. But it’s only since I actually started living my life on my own terms, that I slowly start to understand why taking action is important and what it really means.
I’m sure we all are familiar with this feeling of constantly working on different tasks, but somehow not really knowing why and what for. We just have a tendency to always keep busy, no matter what. Sometimes doing this leaves this void feeling within ourselves. If this lasts for too long, we feel drained of energy. We get tired. What’s missing is some sort of feedback or result from those tasks. Something that shows us that we are making some sort of progress, that we are doing something with a purpose that makes our own or other people’s lives just a little bit better.
I think this situation has become worse especially since nowadays a majority of us (and most likely including you, since you are reading this article) are mostly spending our time in the digital world. Don’t get me wrong, this is not about you spending too much time online, I’m the same and this is how our world works today. But I do believe, that we — as the human beings that we are — are much better at receiving this feedback we need from tasks that are somehow connected to our offline environment.
This is exactly what differs taking action from just being busy. It’s about the feeling we get from the process, which either does or does not help us to refuel some energy.
Not Taking Action is Like Watching the Traffic
Only having my own life and perspective as a reference, I always quite quickly realized when my current daily life routine was not providing me with feedback and therefore not with any energy. I had this while studying at university, as well as in the jobs that I was working in over the past years. I felt like I’m not really taking action on my own behalf.
Trying to find a metaphor to describe it, I figured that it feels a lot like watching the traffic on a street. I was standing in a fixed position (my job) and was watching the cars passing by (the tasks that I was given).
Taking Action is Like Being in the Driver’s SeatSo compared to watching the traffic and just reacting, actually taking action is when you are sitting in the driver’s seat yourself. It means to become part of the traffic and to go with the flow of it. It also means to not only react, but to make some decisions and to follow through on them, like which highway to take and how fast you want to drive.
Background photo by Daryan Shamkhali on Unsplash
Sometimes there is traffic jam and you feel stuck. Sometimes you have to back up a little. Sometimes you go a little too fast and get into a dangerous situation. Sometimes you make a mistake, or even have a crash. Either way, you are moving forward, your surroundings are changing, progress and development are happening.
It’s like taking a long trip and being rewarded with a wonderful view after arriving. Even more importantly, the whole trip itself will be rewarding, because all along the way you have the chance to discover new things. This is exactly the feedback you need to recharge your batteries. The feeling that things are moving forward.
You Don’t Need to Know Where You Are Going — You Need to Start Moving
What I’m learning in practice right now is, that we all need to chill out a bit about always trying to have a plan. The more options we are given trying to foresee the future, the more we are being held back to just try figuring it out on our own. There is a wonderful term describing this — analysis paralysis. 1 Don’t be fooled by it, also not by the worrisome thoughts which will for sure creep into your mind. Stop checking Google Maps all the time or reading reviews about where to go and what to do. Do your own thing.
After all, it doesn’t take that much to take action. All it takes is taking one little step at a time. 2 No matter what crazy idea you have, you just need to break it down into all the small steps necessary and get them done one by one. Give it a try and from my experience, you will start to love the process, even when it will overwhelm you more often than not.
Heck, ever since I started taking action for my life, sometimes I feel like speeding in a car on a slippery ice road at night with broken headlights, while the forest left and right of me is on fire, chased by the police and the breaks are just working when they feel like it. I have also never been happier and excited about the future. I love it!
Give it a thought. Are your daily routines holding you in a fixed position and force you to react to the traffic passing by, or are you sitting in the driver’s seat moving forward?
Looking forward to your comments below this article.
- “Analysis paralysis describes a moment where over-analyzing or over-thinking a situation can cause it to become ‘paralyzed’, meaning that no action was taken therefore a solution is not reached.” from Wikipedia.
- A fellow blogger, Amy Lo, sharing her thoughts on this on her blog Just Amyllennial.