What Will Put You Ahead:Taking Action or Thinking

Have you ever heard of analysis paralysis?

I came about this phrase a few years back, and it has stayed with me. Analysis paralysis is being unable to take action because of overthinking. And overthinking can kill our happiness.

I find the term quite amusing- considering I have been a victim.

A lot of people have built skyscrapers in their minds. Many have elaborate schemes and ideas. But, these outstanding ideas will never manifest- because an action is never taken. 

According to Investopedia, businesses fail for several reasons. But more businesses fail because they never take off in the first place! Hence not taking action on an idea is an assurance of failure.

Have you ever found yourself lost in a daydream about how you would, could, or should have done something?

Years go by, and still, you have not made any move. You even started but stopped for fear or whatever reason, yet you obsess over your great idea. Well, guess what? Your own analysis has paralyzed you.

I have launched my blog, created investment portfolios, and begun several other things. I realized action will always trump thinking. My realization is tied to two people and their life stories, which I had the chance to witness.

STORY 1

When I was in a job, I met someone who owned a company with over $3 million in annual revenue. He built up his business in less than ten years. Before starting that business, he did various jobs to feed his family.

He was not well educated, but how he built up his business was admirable. He told me that in the initial years of his business, he struggled a lot, and he did not have enough capital to run his business.

Fortunately, he met one of the teachers in his village and asked him to finance his business activities in return for shares in his company. With working capital, he expanded his business faster. And within a few years, he became one of the well-known Civil Contractors in the area with numerous movable and immovable assets.

He hired civil engineers because he had no technical knowledge of his business. He hired accountants and CAs to help him run his business well. His business growth and profit margins increased as soon as he did it.

According to him, he believed in taking action rather than only thinking and sitting idly. He also told me the ups and downs of his business during this journey and how he copes by consistently taking the bulls by the horn. His persistent actions improved his business.

Guess what? He was right. He could not have done it if he had analyzed too keenly why he could not run a multi-million dollar business. He could have made an excuse and quit after initial setbacks. This outstanding individual, unfortunately, succumbed to COVID-19.

Now, his story makes for a fantastic script for Bollywood- a grass-to-grace story where the underdog wins.

But what of those who seem to have most things sorted out for them, at least materially? 

Are people like these prone to paralysis analysis? That’s where my second story comes in.

STORY 2

I know a person born into a wealthy family who is left with nothing today. His parents were wealthy and owned many agricultural lands that could enrich his family if it was well protected and put to use.

But, he lost all of it due to his luxurious lifestyle and idleness. He sold all his ancestral land for gambling. Now he barely fulfills his daily needs and struggles.

He could have done well if he had been proactive. He had dreams too. Probably he thought he could expand the wealth of his family. But he didn’t take the necessary steps to bring to fruition his desires.

One man had nothing but could build a thriving business out of the little resources he had because he took steps. Another man had almost everything anyone could wish for to build a majestic life, but he squandered it all because he wouldn’t do what was right!

Both stories reveal that taking action is one thing all successful people have in common. Many acclaimed authors like Brian Tracy have written thousands of books on the importance of doing what needs to be done at the right time.

How Action Leads To Growth

When we take action, things often fall into place; new ideas are birthed, and clarity is gotten. We feel motivated, and with increased motivation, we pick up momentum. We draft better plans based on the result gotten, and growth happens.

However, we leave room for doubt when we don’t take action. Plans made would soon become old, and we are back to square one: reanalyzing based on thoughts and not real-world data.

Without a doubt, thoughts mold our actions, but our actions give credence to our thoughts. In essence, it is not about what you think but more about what you do based on what you think. People are rarely respected for what they think. But legends are made from the things they do.

In one of my articles, I shared the story of Dashrath Manjhi: “the man who moved mountains.” He wouldn't be known today if he had not taken steps to gradually chip through the mountain in his village that blocked access to a neighboring village with a better medical facility.

So, How Can We Start?

Photo; Pexels.com

The most challenging thing to do is start something. Ironically, even when the benefits of starting something are apparent, there is always the initial lack of motivation.
Questions like:
Why can’t I start exercising even though I know it will keep me healthy and fit?
Why can’t I begin reading books even though it would keep me informed and will improve my knowledge on any subject of my interest? We do not take action because we fear losing or never gaining momentum. You are not scared of going to the gym, but you know you will stop after 2 weeks of trying. So, why start at all? So, how do you overcome this?
You overcome this by being accountable.
As kids, we always tried to lure our mothers to fulfil our wrong or right desires. If we wanted chocolate, we knew what buttons to push. But, if our mothers remain firm, we give up- deferring to her superior authority,

We loved our mothers, but we were also afraid of them occasionally. If we did not complete our homework, our mothers scolded us, so we did it. One thing we all have in common is that we were all accountable to our mothers.

Further down the line, we become accountable to our bosses. Irrespective of how tiring our jobs are or how much we hate them, we find ourselves at work every day of the week, carrying out tasks appointed to us.

Our attitude to work is shaped by the awareness of what happens if we falter. This is the power of accountability!

Using the power of accountability, we can motivate ourselves to begin taking action. By creating a system around each idea or goal that makes us accountable, we increase the chances of starting and continuing till it is achieved.

  • Do you want to write but often struggle to get the time to write? Schedule your posts a day before; if you don't complete them, they're auto-published. This will encourage you to complete them, and you will write.
  • Do you want to get up early rather than depend on an alarm you snooze? Hire any freelancer from Upwork to call at that time. And if you cut the calls, your freelancer logs on time to raise the invoice for billing.

  • Do you want to run early in the morning but struggle to get up? Ask your neighbor to ring the bell of your home at the appointed time.

Conclusion

Steven Pressfield quoted in his book, The War of Art, “Don't prepare. Begin. Our enemy is not lack of preparation. The enemy is resistance, our chattering brain producing excuses. Start before you are ready."

So start now, not today!