CALL 609-654-5489

Lesson Twenty-Two — Action

Plans and goals are wonderful things, however, without action, they are worthless.The reason most plans fail and goals are never reached is because the plans were never put into action.Without action, they are simply dreams, and dreamers never succeed.Doers succeed.The absolute, fundamental key to success is not goal setting, nor planning, nor writing it down and reading it everyday.It is ACTION.

So, why don’t people act?Probably because the hardest step is taking the first step.For some reason, it is human nature to dwell on how difficult a task is going to be, even when the task ahead is almost always less trouble than we imagined it was going to be.Think about how many times you dreaded having to clean your room, or to sit down to do a research paper, or other difficult assignment.We moan and groan about how much work it is going to be, yet when we are finished, it wasn’t that bad after all.I often say that if people spent as much time doing the job as they did worrying about the task ahead and how much trouble it was going to be, they would have the job finished.Myself, included.

The mistake that most of us make is looking at the entire project ahead as a single task, when in fact, it is really only a series of very small, relatively simple tasks.Like, building a house, as we discussed two chapters ago.When faced with cleaning your room, your first move would probably be to go straight to your unmade bed, and promptly lie down and rest because the thought of cleaning your room is just too overwhelming.The truth is that if you look at the project as a whole, it is surely overwhelming.The way to get the job done is to break it down into smaller, simpler tasks.You can’t clean up your papers and books because your dirty clothes are all over the desk and floor.You cannot clean up your dirty clothes because the clothes hamper is full.You cannot empty the hamper because the clothes washer is full.You can’t empty the clothes washer because the dryer is full.You can’t empty the dryer because the laundry baskets are full.As a whole, the job is too much to do.However, if you focus on one task at a time, for example, take the laundry basket to your room and put your clean clothes away, then empty the dryer, then empty the washer, then empty the hamper, then take the clothes from your floor and put them in the hamper, then throw the old papers away, then put the books back on your desk, and the job is practically done.One step at a time.

Once you have broken the project into smaller tasks, it becomes more manageable, but still nothing will happen until you take that first step.There are always plenty of reasons why you cannot get started.These are better known as excuses.There is not enough time.I’m too tired.I’m too hungry.I’ll start right after this show, or the next show, or the next show.Now, it’s definitely too late.I will do it tomorrow.But, as you know, tomorrow never comes.

Many, many years ago there was a war and the two armies each were led by very famous generals, McClellan and Lee.Each were excellent leaders, brilliant men, and were very popular with their troops.McClellan had the superior forces and was excellent at training the troops and making detailed battle plans.Lee had fewer troops with less training and far fewer resources like weapons, food, uniforms and money to pay his soldiers.While McClellan was training and planning, Lee was attacking here and there, being careful not to overextend his troops, and he was winning the war.Meanwhile, McClellan intensified the training and planning, but did not go after Lee.At one point, McClellan’s boss said, “If you’re not going to use your troops, perhaps I could borrow them for a while.”Still, no action.Finally, McClellan’s boss replaced him with a much less popular general that didn’t do very well in military school and was not considered to be much of a planner or strategist.In fact, it was pretty well accepted that this guy was washed up and not much of a match for the famous General Lee.Well, this replacement took his superior forces and put them in action.They attacked, and attacked, and attacked.He put Lee on his heels and kept after him, ultimately winning the war, at great cost in the loss of lives.This replacement general wasn’t much of a planner, he was a doer.He won the war, was a war hero, and became president of the United States of America.His name was Ulysses S. Grant.

Grant v. Lee

The unsuccessful person can always think of a reason why something cannot get done. Always! The successful person doesn’t think. He or she just does it. Even with a poorly defined goal, and a half-baked plan, you will outperform 99% of your peers if you just take action!