Scott’s Thoughts: Step Zero

“To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and statesman

Young woman blowing a dandelionMaking decisions feels good, especially after long periods of deliberation. There is a real relief which comes with breaking a cycle of indecision. With a course of action in mind, we close an open loop and reclaim significant mental energy.

But there is a hazard inherent in all decision making: We can easily mistake it for true progress. Setting a goal is not working towards the goal, though the act of setting it alone can feel like the first, vital step. It isn’t. In fact, it’s something I think of as step zero.

That old cliche about the journey of a thousand miles beginning with the first step makes no mention of deciding to take the journey in the first place. You may agonize over a decision, but your choice has no impact on the world or your position in it until you act.

In fact, you might save yourself a lot of time and energy by not thinking too hard before you act. There’s increasing evidence that our “gut feelings” are more complex and meaningful than we realize. What’s more, the smallest acts can produce tremendous constructive feedback. Issues and opportunities present themselves in the wake of our actions, and action quickly turns the invisible visible.

This week, try and recognize when you’re using step zero as a substitute for action. Instead of simply making a decision, attempt to bundle every decision with the first action to put it in motion, however small. Acting in accordance with your thinking is a habit worth cultivating.

Tags: , , ,

Please support the partners who make Tuesday Tactics possible:


Comments are closed.