Don’t get stuck standing still

“I think there is something more important than believing: action! The world is full of dreamers, there aren’t enough who will move ahead and begin to take concrete steps to actualize their vision.” —W. Clement Stone

Have you ever ‘camped-out’ at ‘a fork in the road’ for a while? Or for that matter, ‘next to the road’? I don’t mean literally. Figuratively speaking, at a critical decision point in your life….you sat there…doing nothing….waiting….worrying….fearing…

Was it a pleasant experience? Did it serve you well to ‘camp’ there?

I have learnt that that this very seldom in life a good idea too wait too long. Don’t get stuck standing still. The thought of the deer caught in the trucks headlights on the highway, comes to mind. Debilitated with fear, it is unable to move. This eventually leads to its unfortunate death…this inability to move.

It is of course a natural human trait to want to stop before making a major decision. We want to deliberately slow down our actions and thoughts. We need to focus in order to make the right decisions. This is the right thing to do.

The problem starts however when you start unpacking a picnic basket, followed by the camping equipment and eventually you consider calling an architect for the blueprint of a house to be built on that spot. The original intent of “reflecting” is rationalised into an excuse to procrastinate. Once you stop for too long, your muscles get cold and since you’ve lost momentum, it is incredibly hard to get moving again. Jim Rohn says that if you rest for too long, the weeds take the garden.

 “Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful men and women keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” ~ Conrad Hilton

Study any successful entrepreneur and you will find an ability to throw themselves into massive amounts of action, irrespective of the fact that they might not perform perfectly at first. They seem to have a mindset of trail-and-error. Action, followed by dogged persistence.

This might be where conventional education sometimes fails us. We are often taught to analyse all the possible obstacles, risks, profit margins. We do S.W.O.T. Analyses and due diligences and very often based on the results of such analysis, we never get off the mark. This does have its place, but I often wonder whether this perceived image of the “perfect” outcome doesn’t often prevent us from achieving great things…

In software development, there has in recent years been a steady move away from lengthy, big analysis, build and test life cycles, towards a more iterative, trail & error based approach with short delivery cycles. This enables teams to realise sooner whether they’re on the right track or not. It results in savings in time and money. When you want to know for sure, reality always beats theory.

Long periods of inaction almost always seem to cause…doubt, insecurity, fear, lack of results and this leads to more negative thinking. Negative thinking, entertained for too long, will suck you into a deep hole and beat you to death in the dark.

Rather than the traditional ‘READY, AIM, FIRE’ approach and never firing…because the circumstances don’t appear ideal….why not try ‘READY, FIRE, AIM’ approach? You first FIRE and if you’ve missed, then you AIM and FIRE again. You’ll have a much greater chance of hitting your goal if you actually fire, than if you always aim and never fire.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.”~ Dale Carnegie


~ by Danie van den Berg on 11/03/2010.

3 Responses to “Don’t get stuck standing still”

  1. Sjoe! Die stukkie het my op die regte tyd aangespreek. Ek “lei” aan ‘n lang geprogrameerde pasiwitiet en neig om of onaktief te wees of nie aktief genoeg te wees nie. Ek dink ek is beter, maar dit verg nog baie werk.
    Hoe dit ookal sy, jou artikel het die net weer so ‘n bietjie verskerp. Die nood aan AKSIE!

    Ek luister Covey weer (en weer). Gister toe luister ek weer na “Habit 1 – Being Proactive” en hy praat weer oor Viktor Frankl en sy besef dat hy sy “attitude” bepaal. Ongeag. Weer verskerp hy die noodsaaklikheid vir aksie deur nie beinvloed te word deur die situasie nie, maar omdat jy ‘n wil het, het jy ook die verantwoordelikheid on aksie te neem en iets met jou wil te doen.

    Die vraag wat by my ook opkom is die impak van ‘n mislukte skoot op vrees en dan on aktiewe gedrag?

  2. Uit eie ervaring – hoe langer jy nie ‘n skill/gawe/werk beoefen het nie hoe meer verloor jy vertroue dat jy dit kan doen, selfs al was jy vrek goed daarin ‘n ruk gelede. Beaam dus jou gevolgtrekking in die artikel, jy kan hoe goed wees in ‘n veld of werk as jy dit nie aktief beoefen nie, verloor jy die selfvertroue. Is dit nie dalk iets van wat die Bybel bedoel as dit sê: dit sal van hom weggeneem word as hy dit nie gebruik nie?(die gedeelte oor talente, en die 1 wat sy min talente begrawe het en nie in werking wou stel nie).

  3. Goeie artikel! Hoekom is ons almal so bang om foute te maak – is dit miskien die kritiek van mense wat maak dat ons passief raak en wag vir dinge om te gebeur ? Faith is to pray for rain and then take an umbrella with you to prepare the lands for the rain! Ek dink een van ons grootste kritici is Satan self! Hy wil hê ons moet glo ons gaan faal en dan passief sit en wag. Ek gaan nie langer toelaat dat ‘n reeds-verslane bedrieër my vreugde van my steel nie! Die Satan kan my maar aankla soos hy wil – in Christus is ek ‘n nuwe skepping en meer as ‘n oorwinnaar! Wat meer het ek nodig om tot aksie oor te gaan ?!!

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