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Decision vs Action

It is a sad fact of life, but there’s a big difference between deciding to do something and actually doing it. The difference between success and failure is that some people learn effective strategies for dealing with procrastination and getting stuff done; while others never do.

In fact, many people confuse activity with accomplishment and this is one of the biggest problems in business today. It leads, as Gary Vanerchuck is well known for saying, to a total ‘failure to execute’! Gary has some great ideas on building relationships and on executing those difficult tasks that most people put off, so if you like a fast paced upbeat, irreverent style, check him out.

We often discuss the riddle about decisions by using the metaphor of the three frogs sitting on a log.

Question: There were once three frogs on a log and two of them made a decision to jump into the pond. How many were left? 

I can remember exactly where I was the first time I was asked this question, and who was asking me it. I was snuggled in my warm bed, and I recall instinctively thinking “One.” , because if two decided to jump off, that would leave one frog left on the log. But, when I looked up at the wise gentleman who had just posed this question gently to me, I reconsidered answering so hastily. It was my uncle, actually my god-father who I was living with for some years.

I doubted that he was interested in testing my ability to subtract two from three, and figured there was a deeper meaning behind the question. So, I paused for a while and thought… and took a wild guess. I was thirteen and he was trying to motivate me into getting up to study in my early high-school years, once I had made the decision to go for dux of my class – which being the only girl in a class studying the maths and sciences, was way outside the boundaries expected of me.

You see, I was correct that morning. The point, or lesson within the question lies not in the number, but the reason behind the number. You most likely have been able to figure it out by now, having read it yourself, but to complete the riddle:

Answer: There are still three frogs on the log.

But why is the answer three? You see, the two motivated frogs only made a decision to jump, they took no action! I knew my uncle was having a go at my lack of initiative of getting up without being woken, but the riddle had the desired impact. Since that early cold morning, I’ve used this little story many, many times myself.

It’s the same reason only 3% of the population set and actually achieve their goals or maintain positive, well-intentioned change in the first place. The frogs all understood WHY it was a good idea to jump off. They understood why, and although they did decide and they were motivated … they didn’t take action. In order to experience life, to live it, we need to act!

We either choose to act, or to let things happen to us; where we fall into the “victim” syndrome. But when we make things happen, we are rewarded with what we call the “victory” syndrome! For me, I’ll take the latter any time.

Wikipedia says: “Procrastination is the practice of carrying out less urgent tasks in preference to more urgent ones, or doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, and thus putting off impending tasks to a later time.” How many New Year resolutions did you decide to make that never came to pass? How many items on your ToDo list have just been lingering there, but never brought to life?

One of the keys to overcoming procrastination, is to understand that your brain tends to play tricks on you. It will tell you that “you’re not in the mood to work”, that “you work better when you’re under pressure”, that “the time isn’t right”, that “you have plenty of time”. All of these thoughts are just mind games. At this point, I’d like to remind you of that Woody Allen quote: “80 percent of success is showing up.” So getting yourself to the event, to pick up the phone, to make the call, is 80% of success. Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog is a  great book on overcoming procrastination, in which he gives you 21 ways to do just that.

A decision without action is no more powerful than indecision or no decision. Decisions are powerless unless we follow through. And when we follow through with action, we will be greeted with success. In fact, the etymological meaning of “succeed” is “that which follows,” for success is what follows action.  Here are some suggestions from Chuck Gallozzi on Decision and Achievement.

Things get more challenging when fear enters the equation. When you’re afraid of the project, you tend to avoid it. At the same time, you want to finish the project and succeed. You can’t do that, though, unless you start with whatever is easy, manageable and doesn’t fill your mind with a nameless dread.  Here’s what can happen if you allow fear to rule your life.

Likewise, if you focus on the value of your goal, whatever that might be, you can beat the procrastination, because the desire for what you want overcomes whatever fear you may be facing. So another key here, is to focus on what you want. To help you take responsibility for doing that, get another of Brian Tracy‘s books: Goals. I suggest you get it, study it and apply them in your life.

Decisions without action are preparations for living without living. We need to act to experience life. We either make things happen or let things happen to us. Here’s how Edward Rickenbacker (1842 ~ 1914) expressed why follow through is important, “There’s a six-word formula for success: Think things through, then follow through.”

Some people live as though their life credo is “Ready, Aim. Aim. Aim .” But once a decision is made, it is time for action. For as Theodore Roosevelt (1858 ~ 1919) said, “In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” After all, if we do the wrong thing, at least we can learn something from our mistake. But inaction teaches us nothing, other than regret.

To purchase these books, please click the link at the top of this page and order them from within the Savvy Team Site. This way, you get the best price possible with free delivery and we receive a small affiliate fee which goes toward the online support tools, resources and auto-processes that all members of the Savvy Team get totally for free. Some of these online resources are also available for purchase in hard copy, at cost prices.

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