Updated: Sep 30, 2020
The artist Pablo Picasso once said,
“Action is the foundational key to all success.”
It’s one of those quotations that when you ponder it, you will have to agree with its blatant truth. But if so many of us are of the same mind as Picasso, why do we regularly forget to take his advice?
About 10 years ago I was very frustrated with my life. I had many ideas and goals, but I had not achieved a fraction of the things that I wanted to achieve.
I would look around and see success all around me. I saw people I went to school with, with big businesses and flashy cars. I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t been as successful as them. I had acted on a few business ideas — I was definitely an expert at business plans — but somehow, nobody else got to see those plans and my business ideas never moved forward.
I cannot remember the exact occasion or at what stage I realized what was missing. But when I did, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and realized that sitting dreaming about life wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to go UPWARDS!
Still today I can be guilty of not acting on many different ideas, but now it is through choice; now I choose what I act on and what I put on the back-burner. This is what I now do.
“A body in motion remains in motion unless it is acted on by an external force. If the body is at rest it remains at rest”.
I take action, I realize that the first step is the most important, Newton’s first law of Motion states:
Once you get started it is easier to stay in motion, but the most difficult part is that first movement — the first action. Little by little your actions will gather momentum, and before you know it you will have achieved your goals. A wise friend once said,
“It’s only by starting to walk on the path that you can know for sure if you have taken the correct path.”
Make a start.
I remind myself that being successful is not necessity but choice. Most of the things that frustrate us and irritate us are completely self-inflicted. They are standards and goals we set for ourselves and if we don’t achieve them we are disappointed, upset and annoyed!
So, instead of saying things like “I have to finish this work” or “I need to write one chapter of my book before I can go have fun” change it to “I want.” When you empower yourself to make your own choices these jobs and tasks become easier. Here are some examples:
“I want to finish this work before I relax with the family because I know I can then devote my time and attention to them afterwards.”
“I want to write one chapter of my book because I enjoy writing and I will be happy if I achieve this.”
Remind yourself of the things that you want to achieve and the reasons why.
Statistics say that you are much more likely to achieve something if you tell other people about it. The New Year’s resolutions you promise yourself rarely work. Even if you promise your spouse or partner your likelihood increases slightly but not usually enough to make it happen. But, if you commit to a stranger, a coach or a counselor your chances shoot up.
Why is it we value other people’s opinion of us more than we value our own?
We let ourselves down regularly but are reluctant to let others down. If you want to take action tell somebody about it, tell someone you respect what you are going to do and ask them to check up on you. At the same time it can do no harm to try to respect yourself more and deliver on your personal commitments.
As Picasso says we cannot reach success without action; there needs to be movement towards the goal for things to start to happen.
What are your tips for getting started and taking action to become successful?
Article by Ciara Conlon
Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done