If you’ve ever learnt how to drive a car, cook your favorite meal, or learnt another language; then you know that achieving success requires that you go beyond simply reading. It’s easy enough to read through a bunch of self-help books, guidance notes and success techniques, but the fact is that all the resources in the world can only get you so far.
What good does it do you to simply know of an effective technique if you never try it out?!
Why you must stop reading and start taking action now
Reading is a great first step to making the necessary changes in your life, however, the changes can only be made once you actually take action. If you keep reading and reading and you don’t do anything with what you are learning, it’s a form of procrastination and success and procrastinating aren’t friends.
If you are not convinced, here are 4 reasons why taking action is a crucial element to achieving results:
1. Actions activate information
What changes after you’ve read a particularly motivating piece of information with useful, practical tips? Nothing, unless you’re able to use the information to make real, tangible changes! Reading a book on becoming more confident, for example, won’t magically transform you into an individual free of insecurities. Only through application can information really be made useful. There is no exception.
“In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.” – Dalai Lama
2. Actions facilitate the method of elimination
How will you ever know what techniques/tips do or don’t work for you if you never give any a real try?! Making the necessary changes requires that you go through numerous trial and error processes that will help you to eliminate the techniques that don’t work for you – this will leave you enough time and energy to focus on practising and perfecting those that do!
3. Actions create habits – which lead to success
It’s important to understand that change and success is an ongoing process. You can’t just take one action, make one attempt, and call it a day. New actions that initially require a lot of effort do eventually turn into habitual patterns of behavior. The hardest part about taking actions towards change is actually getting started. The more you repeat a new action, the more natural it becomes, but if you never start, it will never become a habit.
4. Actions substantiate your sense of accomplishment
Making the effort to research and read up on different topics can give you a false sense of accomplishment. You put all that effort into reading all those books so now you’re bound to change, right?! Wrong! If you find yourself reading tons of books/articles but never actually taking any action, then you need to explore the possibility that this is your way of justifying procrastination and resisting change.
“Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso
So you’ve acknowledged the importance of taking action… then what?! No matter what you’ve been reading or what you’re trying to achieve, the three general guidelines below are designed to set you on the right track to becoming more action-oriented:
- Determine what you need to take action on: What areas of your life do you need to make changes in? Whether it’s your morning routine that’s leaving you less than productive or your eating habits that are leaving you lethargic throughout the whole day, you need to get crystal clear on your problem areas before you can set any effective plans. Change is never easy so expect setbacks and don’t give up!
- Identify the necessary steps of action: It’s important to differentiate between impulsive actions without direction and well-determined and thought out actions that will bring you more success in life. Before you jump into taking aimless steps in the wrong direction, take a moment to identify which actions would have the intended results. Think about how your current actions contribute to the problem and make a note of how you’re going to change/replace these actions in order to achieve success.
- Prepare yourself to ensure the best possible outcomes: The more prepared you are to face a wide variety of eventualities, the more likely you are to be successful at making changes in your life. How can you tell whether you’re prepared enough?
A quick way of gauging how prepared you are is by asking yourself the four questions below:
- Do you need any resources in order to bring your plans to fruition?
- Of the resources you need, which do you currently not have access to?
- Can you foresee any potential obstacles in your path to success?
- What are the possible actions you could take to avoid/overcome potential obstacles?
Are you ready to take action?
There’s a reason that despite all the wealth of information available out there today, so many people still struggle to turn the knowledge available into real, practical actions and benefits. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that taking action requires a lot more motivation and will-power than reading!
In the words of Sean Reichle: “Doing nothing gets you nothing” – remember that the next time you decide to read through potentially beneficial information! You could read all the self-help books in the world and have all the intentions of achieving success, but unless you take massive action on the knowledge you gain, you’re better off reading fairy tales!