Saturday, July 29, 2006

Day 9 - ACTION

Putting plans into effect will achieve one's vision.

"The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action." - John Dewey

Why daydreams are so disregarded is the simple fact that they are usually never planned out for actualization, no action is taken on them.

You have now learned to think positively and creatively to expand your vision. The next step is to work out how to achieve it, what steps you want to take to bring this about and start doing something in that direction. A person can dream about becoming a famous artist all she wants – but until she puts a pencil, pen or brush to paper and starts cranking out some artwork that can be sold, she will never be able to have any famous works hung in rich patrons' homes. “A long journey is finally accomplished by first taking a single step.”

This might be too simple, even common sense, but I've never said that these keys to success were anything other than laws or rules which already existed. What has been presented here is hopefully a common sense explanation and a logical process of thought which outline a workable system of self-help, which anyone can apply and use to improve their lives. These laws have existed so long their source can't even be pointed out in time. Plato and Aristotle have run into these; religious scriptures of all types cover these points. This book translates and compiles these into simple modern Western views so you can take advantage of them.

So, in order to achieve anything, you have to do something about it – not just think good thoughts. Nothing new here, or is there? This is, as I've said, the difference between having dreams and accomplishing them, the difference between architectural drawings and the physical buildings existing as a result. One has to act to acquire, achieve or have anything. You can again see the logic showing up here: to have you must do; to do, you must be; to effectively be, you must think. But if thinking doesn't result in doing something, then nothing will ever be achieved.

Napoleon Hill covered this in some detail in his book:

“The event chosen for this illustration dates back to 1900, when the United States Steel Corporation was being formed. As you read the story, keep in mind these fundamental facts and you will understand how IDEAS have been converted into huge fortunes.

“First, the huge United States Steel Corporation was born in the mind of Charles M. Schwab, in the form of an IDEA he created through his IMAGINATION!

“Second, he mixed FAITH with his IDEA.

“Third, he formulated a PLAN for the transformation of his IDEA into physical and financial reality.

“Fourth, he put his plan into action with (a) speech at the University Club.

“Fifth, he applied, and followed-through on his PLAN with PERSISTANCE, and backed it with firm DECISION until it had been fully carried out.

“Sixth, he prepared his way for success by a BURNING DESIRE for success.

“THERE ARE NO LIMITATIONS TO THE MIND EXCEPT THOSE WE ACKNOWLEGE.

“BOTH POVERTY AND RICHES ARE THE OFFSPRING OF THOUGHT.”

Planning is a key point, one that follows your vision. There's an old adage, a version of which is attributed to Western author Louis Lamour, “Plan your work, work your plan – and always carry a spare.”

Part of action is to be personally efficient in what you are doing. Several authors (Covey, Hill, Wattle) mention this point specifically. You can also see that this would be an outgrowth, or logical procession from both a positive outlook, and application of the Golden Rule. One would want to achieve the highest potential possible personally, and as well would want others around him to be efficient and productive when they worked.

Another part of action is to work within your physical limits. While you can exercise to increase your stamina and energy level, don't over-work. This has negative effects mentally and so can slow you down. Pace yourself and work within what you can physically do. This will pay off. Dr. Peale relates one award-winning rowing team was created by being told the secret of winning was to “row slowly.” By keeping to the rhythm of the pace, they could pass other anxious, over-energetic teams which had to stop rowing during the race to get everyone back together and in sync. Many activities at work and play have their rhythm. By learning to work within this rhythm, much more work can be achieved for longer periods than “throwing yourself at it.”

Part of the plan might be achieving an education or training in a new area which you need to master. Reading this book, or any of the others listed, is a form of education. Modern schooling has this common complaint, “I studied their books and took their tests, passed them all, but didn't learn anything.” This problem is because schools have long had the habit of being a brain-dump, where facts and agendas are swallowed wholesale by students to be regurgitated at will, however the students were never enabled with the understanding and practical discipline of being able to organize this data and use that knowledge after they acquire it. You may need to attend school or college to get some of the data you need, but Hill explained it this way, defining the word “educate”:

“That word is derived from the Latin word 'educo,' meaning to educe, to draw out, to DEVELOP FROM WITHIN. An educated man is not, necessarily, one who has an abundance of general or specialized knowledge. An educated man is one who has so developed the faculties of his mind that he may acquire anything he wants, or its equivalent, without violating the rights of others.”

But the key is action. Set your vision, work out the plan that would achieve it and then implement this plan – starting with something today, right now – that you can do which would start achieving that vision. Don't procrastinate. Take your plan and work out when you want to achieve it, work out then by time period (years, months or even weekly) what has to be achieved by when. Then work from this master list of what you need to accomplish today and by what hour you want to get each sub-step done. Even if you simply say that you are going to have to buy that lottery ticket on the way home from work.

But if you never buy that ticket, you can't win that lottery. So if that is your vision, plan it out and do it.

Day 9 Exercise:

Try this –

This exercise is from Chapter two of Napoleon Hill's book. While it has to do with achieving wealth, it could as easily be applied to regaining health, achieving happiness or any other possible self-improvement (again, there is far more detail in his book, which is key to achieving financial wealth):

“The method by which DESIRE for riches can be transmuted into its financial equivalent, consists of six definite, practical steps, vis:

“First, Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire. It is not sufficient merely to say, 'I want plenty of money.'

“Second. Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire. (There is no such reality as 'something for nothing'.)

“Third. Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire.

“Fourth. Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.

“Fifth. Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.

“Sixth. Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after arising in the morning. AS YOU READ – SEE AND FEEL AND BELIEVE YOURSELF AS ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE MONEY.”
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