It’s frustrating not getting what you want. I want to move out and be financially independent, but it’s not happened yet. I can, however, say I am taking action toward it through writing everyday and active job searching.
As James Clear has brought to light in his newsletter and book, motion is merely thinking about doing something. The action is doing it.
With that being said, you’d think motion to be a sickness. If you get stuck in it, then yes. If it proceeds action, then no.
Here are some examples:
Motion: You think about 10 articles you’re going to write
Action: You write those ten articles
Motion: You enquire about a gym membership or personal trainer
Action: You use the membership/training and start squating
Motion: You think about the six-pack you want
Action: You eat a healthy meal
You get the idea.
Pair the two together for prepared action. Now that sounds purposeful.
I’ve long been an advocate for taking action. Out of the two, it is the most important to get what you want, by a mile. But with a bit of thought — motion — you can push yourself just a bit further.
Lawmakers bring a motion to the floor, which proceeds action. Of course, life often doesn’t allow you to take as long as the judiciary process in any country, but the point still stands.
All of this explaining requires, funnily enough, an action plan. So let’s get stuck in.
1. How to Motion Properly
Motion without action is daydreaming. We’ve all done it. I’ve caught myself staring out of the window while sitting at my desk thinking about the success I want.
Now I’m taking my advice.
To make motion work for you, you need to put it into action. Here are some ways you can do that.
Don’t ask, don’t get. Steve Jobs is one of the most famous names to advocate this principle. Asking, on the face of it, is a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you suffer from anxiety.
The problem, I am realising, is who to ask. Lately, however, I am beginning to understand. My Linkedin profile is growing, as is the number of messages I receive. People are asking me to take a look at their work, questions about Medium and so on.
You need to reach out to someone you look up to in the same field. For example, Slack and Medium Facebook groups are great for that, as it makes asking some top Medium writers much more accessible.
Although you often won’t get a reply, don’t be disheartened. Asking for guidance, a raise, promotion is taking action. I’ve put it under motion because, if anything, it feels like a precursor to more significant action.
I’ve asked some top writers for their views on my work, which I then apply afterwards. Prepared action.
Stop saying sorry.
The problem with lying in motion is you begin to think you don’t deserve what you want. Consequently, action can make you somewhat apologetic.
Stop wording your emails with “I’m sorry to bother you…” You’re not sorry to bother them. It’s okay to be direct.
You may be wondering how this fits into the ‘motion’ part of this article. Well, it has more to do with your frame of mind. You will be better equipped for taking action if you stop saying sorry for things you don’t need to apologise for.
Sorry is an admission you’ve done something wrong. Preparing to act on your goals is not something you need to be sorry for. As a guy who has never got a reply from an email starting with “I’m sorry to bother you,” trust me when I say it isn’t necessary.
Be confident. Confidence is the motion you take that will make action easier. Confidence is like water pouring down on dry grass after a drought and coming back to find a bright green field. Don’t be sorry. You can do anything as long as you believe it.
Feel confident about the future.
‘One day, Amy came in and immediately burst into tears. “I had the most awful date of my life.
How bad was he?
“He was amazing,” she said, “absolutely everything I’ve been looking for.”
But then she said, “I completely blew it, I was so certain that this was going to be another bad date and a waste of my time that I told him to meet me for coffee after my yoga class. I didn’t have time to shower so I showed up in my gym clothes, hot and sweaty, no make-up…and there he was…Mr. Immaculately Groomed, Tall, and Handsome, with a perfect smile.’
When the date turned out to be good, she didn’t know what to do. She had prepared for failure by acting on what she expected, not what she wanted.
Dr. Jennings explains this further, saying “when you prepare for something that hasn’t even happened yet, you participate in creating the outcome. In other words, you create the self-fulfilling prophecy.”
If there is any prophecy you want to fulfill, it is you achieve your wildest dreams. If you’re expecting failure, you’ve shot yourself in the foot. Expect every article or project to be a success. If it isn’t, go again.
Know your responsibilities.
You likely know what you want, but you probably don’t know what will change when you get there.
More than that, you need to know how your responsibilities will change when you finally take action. When I decided to change my lowly graduate life and write, I didn’t realise the commitment required. It took a little while to adjust.
If you assess the effort needed beforehand, you can take more prepared action and not waste time asking people for directions like a hopeless backpacker.
I tell you this because you need to have an honest conversation with yourself.
Do you know what action you need to take?
Are you prepared to take it?
2. Taking Genuine Action
Now onto the critical part.
So, you’ve prepared. You’ve asked for opportunities, stopped saying sorry and assessed your upcoming responsibilities. What next?
You can navigate obstacles.
Even if you feel prepared, there may be some action steps that you think are out of your reach. To that, I say: be okay with what you can’t do because there is so much you can do.
For whatever reason, there may be some things you can’t do. You might not be able to run a marathon because of heart problems. You might not be able to go on holiday this year due to financial issues.
Missing out on shit you want to do sucks. I missed out on the last few games with my childhood football team due to a collar bone break. I know it’s not life-threatening, but I was gutted. Eleven years of football and I finally broke a bone at the last hurdle.
But, I took action in other areas. When I first lifted a dumbbell over my head ten weeks on, my arm was wobbling over the place. I needed to take things slow.
For once, I wasn’t invincible. I put my brain into motion and asked the trainer for tips on how to stay fit during my recovery. I took another look at my approach to fitness and became obsessed with cardio.
I was back on the pitch twelve weeks after the break. I still carry those lessons to the gym today.
Think about the problem and act accordingly — motion into prepared action.
Don’t wait for a starting point.
Time won’t wait around for you, so why wait for it? The best time to take action is now. If you don’t have time to prepare, act anyway. Yes, preparation is important, but action is essential.
I went to university at 18 because it seemed like the right thing to do for someone of my age. The thing is, anyone can do it at any age. If you’re 25, in five years you’ll be 30. You’ll still be 30 if you take that five-year course you’ve been looking at.
There is no ‘right time.’ Now is good enough.
Don’t get comfortable.
I’ve learned the most from my most uncomfortable experiences. At the time, all I want is for it to end. A few weeks on, the lessons make themselves plain to see.
It’s easy to get lost in a routine and slip back into a state of motion. Thinking about the future is more glamorous than acting in the present.
To counter, make yourself uncomfortable. Form new habits. Habits, James Clear says, shouldn’t be arduous. They should be easy — that’s how we make them habits. They should, however, expose you to a different way of living — an actionable one.
I leave my to-do list open, so when I sit at the desk, my tasks are ready. When I open my laptop, I put my headphones on. Prepared action.
Prepared Action Can Push You Closer to Success Than Ever Before
Remember, successful people take action. You don’t need a life plan mapped out from the moment you hit puberty. Thinking about the outcome is time-wasting and, unless it’s a precursor to acting, is frankly irrelevant.
Don’t lay in the misty waters of future results. Pick your spot and dive headfirst into the crystal clear pool right in front of you.
Prepared action has dragged me from the pit I found myself in after university, what can it do for you?