One thing is certain: taking action leads to success.
To prove this fact; a little experiment during which scientists asked some CEO’s, kindergarteners, university students studying business and medicine, as well as some high schoolers to build the highest possible structure in 18 minutes using 4 given elements: 20 spaghettis, 1 marshmallow (which must be at the top of the tower), 1 meter of string and some Sellotape.
Which group do you think built the highest structure?
The kindergarteners! Why? Because they started the construction of the structure straight away, which allowed them to test what worked, understand what did not and be able to create a stable structure. The other groups started by talking and preparing for about 10 to 15 minutes, which didn’t leave them to time to test different structures.
We also have a lot dreams (write a book, travel the world, learn a new language…) but most of the time, they stay dreams. Like in the example above, we think about it a lot; but often without going further.
As Walt Disney said: if you can dream it, you can do it!
Dreams are important, but actions are fundamental because without action, dreams cannot come true. It is what we do and not what we know and think that will allow us to reach our goals.
Furthermore, action leads to action. When doing things, you will encounter new opportunities, you will change your approach thanks to what you learn along the way and you will have new ideas.
How can we dare more and achieve our dreams?
The first piece of good news is that taking action is a muscle that you can train. The more you take action, the easier it gets and the more natural it becomes.
There is always something extra you can do as to reach your goal (no matter what it is).
Nina Mufleh for example, dreamed of working for Airbnb but couldn’t manage to get a job in a usual manner. She then told herself that if she got a job at Airbnb, her goal would be to help the company develop, she decided to create a website, https://www.nina4airbnb.com/ as to explain her strategy.
After going viral, Airbnb took interest, and she got an interview with Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky, as well as LinkedIn, Uber and many others.
Many of us would have just stopped after the basic applications, when we should have, just like George Clooney, said “what else?”. What else can I do to bring me closer to my goal?
The second piece of good news is that taking action is good for you. Positive psychology tells us that to feel an emotion of well-being, people must feel control over their environment. Furthermore, when you make your mind up, and take action; that’s precisely what you are doing.
-Do not wait for the “right moment” (because spoiler alert, it doesn’t exist)
In Steve Garguilo’s TedX, “the science of taking action” he reveals that one of the major obstacles that stops us from taking action is telling ourselves that we can do it later, when the time is right, and everything is pointing us in that direction… a moment that will never come. The best way to take action is, to act right away, before our limiting thoughts take on for us.
Just this morning, one of my friends suggested that I write an article on the theme of divorce, an idea that I loved straight away! However, instead of starting right away, I didn’t do anything and the limiting thoughts started rolling in, quickly.
You want to write a book? Write a few lines a day, from tonight onwards.
You want to travel the world? Look up plane tickets, and the countries you want to visit during your lunch break.
You want to start your own company? Learn about the steps you need to follow, before cooking dinner.
The first step is always the hardest one, but it starts the process. Once it is done, everything follows.
-Evaluate the risk and start small
For many people, the risk of failure is the biggest obstacle.
However, is it riskier to not do anything, or to fail when trying to accomplish your dreams? We can never predict an action’s results, but if you don’t do anything, there won’t be anything to predict. There is so much you can gain, even if you fail, you will have gained experience.
However, if it is what others think of you that scares you, well then, you should know that nobody cares about what you do (except your family and friends, who normally support you). So, dare try because if you don’t do it, no one will do it for you.
Don’t hesitate to start small! If your objective is a little scary, divide it into multiple sub-objectives. Each step, small as it may be, is a step towards your final goal (however spending your Sunday watching Netflix or scrolling endlessly on Instagram does not bring you any closer).
Block even just 15 minutes a day to work on your goal. Very quickly, you will naturally want to devote more time to your project (which will also stop you from spending as much time on social media)
-Talk about it
Talking to someone else, whether it is a coach, your family, your friends, can really help you take action. It is much easier to get new ideas and find solutions for others as we aren’t limited by our own baggage. Each week, I get the proof, when I brainstorm with Isabelle Minceur, which allows us both to have new ideas, which neither of us had initially thought of.
So, if these few months of quarantine have made a few of your dreams resurface, if at night you dream of travelling the world, having a business or running a marathon, well then, don’t wait any longer. As Lemony Snicket said; “if we wait until we’re ready we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives”, the right moment is now.
Translated from French by Clara Rapin Limoges