The Power of Taking Action: Bridging the Divide Between Decision Making and Execution
“The act of taking the first step is what separates winners from the losers”. Brian Tracy
We need to learn to focus on the future and not the past because we cannot change anything that happened in the past. The future greatly depends on the decisions we make today and tomorrow. In Africa, we have a challenge of dwelling much on the past. That is why in my language, when you meet someone in the morning, you greet by saying, “Oreire ota”. (How was your night?). On the other hand, an Englishman will say “Good morning” which means that he is focusing on the future (morning) and not the past (night). In the same way, at the end of a calendar year, we say “kurika omwaka” (congratulations upon going through the past year) while an Englishman will say “happy new year” showing that he is focusing on the new year as opposed to the one which has ended.
Anyone who aspires for personal achievement and greatness in the major areas of life needs to develop a formula that will help him or her take decisive actions. Taking action is a result of bold decisions that you make at a point in your life disregarding naysayers. It takes someone who is optimistic about the future and is ready to do what he or she believes in no matter what other people say, believe or do. We were all created by God and each one of us was born with seeds of greatness. We all have a lot of potential and all we need is to realise the fact that we have a lot of power lying within us and we just need to awaken that power and change the world.
For you to start working on your plans, you need to believe in them and then lay out a plan for achieving them in a specific period. Write down what you want to achieve in the order of priority as well as a practical action plan. You can pin this in your bedroom so that every time you are going to sleep and every morning when you wake up, you look at them and read them several times. This facilitates the development of a deep sense of focus towards your goals.
“It doesn’t matter when you start as long as you start now”. W. Edwards Deming
I would like to encourage you, if you are planning to do anything, start now. Start no matter how small your beginnings. In fact most beginnings are often small. Plans that remain on paper are not worth the ink they are written with unless they are acted upon. Actually, many people have had great plans, yet they are still languishing in defeat and mediocrity. Such people are afflicted with the disease of criticism and fault finding. They are always quick to criticize those that are bold enough to take action saying; “he should have done it like this; he should have done it like that.” It is easy to look at what someone has done and you criticize it. The best way is to show the world what you think is better by doing it and achieving better results. Only then shall the public take you seriously.
All successful people at every level have achieved whatever they have achieved by taking action. The world now, more than ever before is result-based and the results have to be quantifiable and able to yield monetary benefits. People are known by their fruits not by their fantasies. That is why when you go for a job interview; you are asked what you have done before that makes you the best candidate. The candidate who is able to show what he or she has done and quantify it will always be better than the one who just lists competences and abilities without giving relevant examples to illustrate those capabilities. You are only as strong as your actions and accomplishments. Your previous accomplishments are used as a reliable indicator of what you are capable of doing in the future.
It is important to note that when you act and achieve something, it boosts your confidence to dare for more, as success breeds more success. The law of attraction says, “like attracts like” and therefore if you think and do great things, you attract more great things into your life. I encourage you to read Rhonda Byrne’s book “The Secret” where the law of attraction is well explained such that you know how it works and how those who have discovered it have utilised it to achieve great things.
Raise your standards
If you want to move beyond the sticking point, you need do away with mediocrity. Start setting high targets for yourself. It does not matter what everyone else is doing, be it your family members, workmates, friends or anyone else. You can be an island of excellence in a sea of mediocrity. A person who settles for less will always achieve less. When you aim your spear at nothing, you definitely hit it. But we are not born to be mediocre. We deserve a better place in the world and all we need is to claim our place by using the talents that God gave us. We all have unique talents that we can exploit and achieve the much-needed breakthrough. Wherever we go, we meet different challenges and opportunities and our duty is to master how to handle the challenges and utilize the opportunities. Nobody was born to suffer as others thrive. The rules that govern success are universal and apply to us all equally. They are much like the law of gravity. I have not seen anybody moving up in the air just because the law of gravity has failed to work. Knowing the laws (as most of us do) is not enough. We need to act now because tomorrow will be too late.
In most cases, our success is hampered by our beliefs most of which may not be true. Our beliefs are shaped by our experiences, as well as what the rest of the society we come from believes. In most cases, these beliefs are based on something that happened long time ago and if they were tasted today, they would be disapproved. You can still go ahead and do something that society thinks no one can do or something that you think is not possible. Before Barrack Obama became president of USA, no one knew that an African American can be president, but that did not stop him from trying his luck and the rest is history. That belief has now changed across the world. In Uganda, there are beliefs we have about different tribes and yet such beliefs are not true. When you interact personally with people from those tribes, you realise something very different.
“Men are disturbed not by the things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen”. Epictus
Do not allow to be hindered by any belief that you have not practically tested. If you want to do something, even if nobody has ever done it, go for it and whether you fail or succeed, you will learn something that will help you move forward. The fear of failure can actually make you a failure. In most cases, we ask ourselves: what if I try and fail? What if I propose and she rejects me? What if I start this business and fail to get customers? What if it doesn’t work out? What if…? What if…? The people who have succeeded in life have had to overcome such fears and when we see them today, we think they were just lucky.