Action is the only thing that without it success in any sector is unachievable. Please don’t tell me about talent. By the way, I don’t believe in talent. Talent is only a tool that can get you closer to accomplishments but fortunately or unfortunately is not enough. It’s something like money and happiness. It seems that money helps you be happier but alone is not adequate enough. I know you may disagree about talent but the fact is that is difficult to come across people with many accomplishments in the long-term that came as results of ONLY their talent.
So what is it? Action. Training. Practice. Call it whatever you like.. The answer is not difficult and maybe you’d guessed. However, this is the appropriate time to elaborate on this.
It is very common to notice a misconception between theory and practice. I believe usually we are so overwhelmed by our thoughts that we feel as if we have already done the action. It’s not difficult for a brain to fall into this misunderstanding, you know. I have seen people, after watching the simplicity of the performance of an expert, believe that if they wanted they would do the same things if they followed the same preparation which possibly they find easy. But they don’t think that this is their difference with the successful one, that he DID it.
When we talk about practice we refer to a repetition of certain processes according to a plan we set. For example, if I want to be a marathon runner then I have to follow a program for my training, for my eating etc. These specific activities have to be followed for a specified period of time.
Then, whenever you have been in these circumstances I am sure you should have noticed that after some time you start following your program automatically. You don’t even need to think what you have to do and it has turned into a habit. Maybe you have heightened your thershold and now things you used to think as unachievable, now look accessible. If you just keep following these activities then you are getting closer to your goal.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit. ~Aristotle
Think about it. Your everyday activities determine how good you will be in the situations you want to.
Process of Acquiring Knowledge
In every process of acquiring knowledge exist 4 stages:
- Unconscious incompetence: At that level you aren’t able to even recognize your incompetence. You knowledge of the sector is so limited that you haven’t even noticed how ignorant you are.
- Conscious incompetence: Now you are starting to understand your incompetencies and you are aware that you are not good enough.
- Conscious competence: At that point you have become much better and you have significantly increased your capabilities. But be careful, you are far from expert. Because you try hard and you need to be focused every time you engage into the activity.
- Unconscious competence: Now you are becoming an authority in the sector. You have become so good that when you undertake it ,even without thinking about it, you are very effective.
And yes, as I have million time mentioned, neuroplasticity can explain the effect that action has on success. The ability of humans to change their brain and as a matter of fact their skills, regardless of age. By putting yourselves into the appropriate circumstances you train your brain to become competent.
When we want to be successful in something we agree that we need to overcome some inefficiencies that we have and cultivate the appropriate skills. This doesn’t happen only in huge accomplishments but in every day habits as well. Due to the fact that you consistently put yourselves in a situation, automatically your competency in this increases. Your brain is getting used to it.
For example, when talking about diets. I don’t believe in short-term diets. In most of the ones that the weight is lost quickly, people tend to take the kilograms back. Instead, if a person enters in a certain nutrition program that can be followed consistently, then his/her eating habits will gradually change and after some time the body weight will be decreasing without noticing that.
In Going Beyond your Comfort, I talked about the concept of getting out of our comfort zones and thus making them larger. Well, this is how it happens. You enter new circumstances and then you learn them and you integrate them into yourselves.
But if you want to practically apply this behaviour, you need to take very well into account one emotion. An emotion that will define if you will be progressing in your lives or not: Overcoming fear takes us many steps closer to success.
Among many other reasons, we are wired to face fear when we do something that some people find strange or are opposed to. Because we have a social part of our brains that needs to feel that is consistent with the ideas of the other people in the environment, it’s a survival mechanism. But you should not hang up of what other people may think. These are most of the times people who are unsuccessful and want to drug other people down. No man or woman has ever managed something substantial without being criticized some time. Dr. David J. Schwartz in his amazing book “The Magic of Thinking Big” calls these people Negators. They seem to take delight in sabotaging the efforts of others either because they are jealous or because they have rationalized that success is not possible so the people who strive for success are risking a lot and will lose everything.
To practically understand how the environment suppresses you, do the following experiment:
Tell to several of your average friends sincerely that someday you intend to be vice president of your company. Your friends would think you are joking or in the best case scenario they will say that poor, X, you need a lot more to learn. But if you go to the president of your company and tell him the same thing with equal sincerity, one thing is certain, the president won’t laugh. He will look at you and will ask himself if you really mean it, but won’t laugh. Big people don’t laugh at big ideas. Because they have seen them happening. Same thing will happen if you go to a person that owns a 1million house and say that you plan to acquire a similar one some day. He won’t laugh. Because he finds it perfectly possible, he has done it. But if you go to your neighbours most certain will not take you seriously. People that tell you something can’t be done are almost always strictly mediocre in terms of accomplishment. Develop a defence against people who tell you you cannot do it. Accept negative advice only as a motivation to prove that you can.
Isolate Fear and Act Instantly
Define what you are afraid of and isolate it. Action will diminish fear. Action is, also, a confidence builder and a self-belief builder, apart from success bringer. Action, making things happen, is what distingusihes the dreamer from the doer. Ideas without action are like a car without engine.
Keep a notepad with you wherever you are and write down any ideas coming to your mind. Have direct access to it. From time to time review your ideas and the ones that look feasible check them, research them, ask, think and dream about them. And then ACT on them.
You don’t need to be an expert on a sector. 20% of the appropriate knowledge of a sector is enough for 80% of actions in it (Pareto Distribution). So don’t hesitate. Check thoroughly your idea, be sure that it is right and…Start before thinking anything more about it! Or let it cause you a great psychological pain, because this is what will happen.
The more you remain indecisive, the more you fertilize fear. For anxiety to be removed you need to put your idea into practice. It’s the anticipation of a big event that is difficult. By the time you get in the game everything is forgotten. So if you want to make an important call, don’t think about it, do it. And then watch how nervousness is extinguished…
Build your confidence and destroy your fear through positive action. ~David J. Schwartz Ph D
Lastly, you can understand that knowledge is not only useful but also harmful. You can get used to something bad for your health for example. As I mentioned in the description of the process of acquiring knowledge, the conscious incompetence and conscious competence levels by definition require mental effort, the use of consciousness. If, for example, you are trying to quit smoking, it needs you to try. But brain has limited capabilities. So if you need to focus on this you may find it difficult to focus on something else. So the more bad habits you start, the more difficult is for you to progress because you will have more things to take care of.
If there’s one thing you’ll keep from this article, then don’t forget:
A single act is worth a thousand words