Same Motion, More Action

Twitter led me to something useful today. (Really, Andrea Goulet Ford did.)

Lately, I've been pondering (more on that later) some of the things that keep me from taking more action. There are many drivers -- habit and inclination among the stronger, but also too many choices or options, a dash of guilt and a need to look busy. What in the world am I talking about?

Well, there's my commitment to maintaining this blog, as an example. I have a list of about 40 potential blog posts that I recently revisited and revised. In the time I spent editing the list of blog posts, I could have written three posts. Or the new Excel spreadsheet I developed to track Floricane's cash f low, when what I really needed to do was build a budget for 2014.

This evening, Andrea retweeted a link to a blog post at Buffer by James Clear with the provocative title, "The Mistake Smart People Make: Being In Motion vs. Taking Action." Here's a snippet:

Motion is when you’re busy doing something, but that task will never produce an outcome by itself. Action, on the other hand, is the type of behavior that will get you a result.

Here are some examples…

  • If I outline 20 ideas for articles I want to write, that’s motion. If I actually write and publish an article, that’s action.
  • If I email 10 new leads for my business and start conversations with them, that’s motion. If I actually ask for the sale and they turn into a customer, that’s action.
  • If I search for a better diet plan and read a few books on the topic, that’s motion. If I actually eat a healthy meal, that’s action.

Sometimes motion is good because it allows you to prepare and strategize and learn. But motion will never — by itself — lead to the result you are looking to achieve.

It doesn’t matter how many times you go talk to the personal trainer, that motion will never get you in shape. Only the action of working out will get you the result you’re looking to achieve.

My first impulse after reading Clear's piece was, "Yeah! I need to do less motion, more action!" And then I settled down, and remembered how I am fundamentally wired (read: motion, not action). I need motion. Processing my way through my work is core to what I do. Abandoning the side of me that researches, studies and explores options would be a mistake.

No, I need the motion I have. But I also need more action.

And that's my new motto for 2014: Same Motion, More Action.

Go read the whole thing, and then decide if you're ready to act more. (Or, if you act too much, maybe you need to put some more motion in your life.)