While growing up and still today, I’ve heard, and continue to hear the phrase, “Knowledge is Power‘. Whether it was school, books, TV commercials, billboards, etc., the phrase reverberates through the decades of my life.
I’ve considered this phrase to be true for a long time now, and on some level it’s powered me through college, graduate school, several professional certifications and piles of books.
Recently though, something about that phrase didn’t seem right, and I found myself challenging and now disagreeing with the sentiment. After much thought, I choose to look at this old maxim differently…
Knowledge is not power… rather, knowledge is potential power. Without action and execution, all the knowledge in the world won’t gain you a thing.
Those who take action will always prevail against those who remain in a constant pursuit of knowledge but don’t apply it.
I believe we all want to accomplish great things in our lives, so today I urge you to put aside your fears, knowledge gathering, waiting for the ‘perfect time’, or any other prerequisite and take an action towards your goals.
Action is Power.
Getting out of your comfort zone can be a scary thing. Especially when the greater the potential action, the greater the fear.
I fell prey to this fear for a while before launching my Will Athletic blog. To most, I would come off as a relatively private and quiet person – an introvert by every possible definition. So it should be no surprise that me taking the action of putting myself out there in blog form was a pretty scary thing.
So what did I do? I created work… prerequisite work that I ‘had to complete’ before launching the blog. It was a mix of reading up on how to write and start a blog, making sure I had a certain number of posts written before launch, creating a logo, figuring out my color scheme. Oh yea, and social media, and … you get the picture.
Thankfully, the moment came when enough was enough… I moved a bunch of my so-called prerequisites into the backlog, wrote my first post, and set my blog loose.
A bunch of those prerequisites are still sitting in my backlog, yet I continue to take action and move this blog forward.
I am by no means setting the world on fire with my blog – at least not yet – however I take great pride in taking action and putting a positive message out into the world for anyone who wants to hear it.
“Every breath is an opportunity… seize the opportunity” – Fearless Motivation
After a quick Google search, I found that we take roughly 23,040 breathes per day. That’s quite a few breathes, and more importantly a wealth of opportunities to take action!
Those breaths also contain the potential risk of over-analyzing, being afraid, doubting your potential, and living in the ‘what-if’ cycle of your mind.
When we arrive at our final breaths in this life, let’s make sure our scoreboard has far more points tallied for taking action as opposed to not.
Taking Action & Building Momentum
When it comes to taking actions, we must be self-aware and understand where we are in life. While all actions are not created equal, they are all necessary and important.
If we are embarking on something brand new, then swinging for the fences on day 1 doesn’t make a ton of sense. Or perhaps we are months or years into our journey and have a strong foundation to take a more aggressive action.
Take a moment to think of where you are in relation to a big goal that you want to tackle… Just starting? Grinding for a while now?
Great! – So now that we know where we are, let’s talk about taking action!
Small, Incremental Actions
If we are early in our journey or starting something new, we want to begin taking small and consistent actions.
For instance, if we’ve let our health and fitness slip for the past several years, then we don’t want to go and immediately sign up for a marathon. Rather, let’s identify a few achievable actions to begin to build small victories and momentum towards a better version of us. Let’s start by taking a 5-10 minute walk, and starting to remove soda from our diet and replace it with water or tea. Nothing crazy, but beneficial towards our goal.
Start small, win those little victories, build the habit, and gain the momentum around taking action!
Comfort Zone-Bending Actions
As we build our routines and positive momentum, we might hit a plateau. Maybe we feel stalled in our career or bored with our workout routine. This isn’t a cause for concern or shaking everything up, but it is a call to challenge your comfort zone.
For me, I was consistently working out and eating well, but other than for my general health, I was questioning why I was putting in the time. So I decided to stretch outside my comfort zone and signed up for a Spartan Race (t-minus 2 weeks until race day!). It was a call to action to rethink my workout routine and up my game. As another example, early in my professional career I felt stalled, so I decided to take action and earn some key certifications for my profession. They opened some new doors for me and built a wave of momentum that has been carrying me onward and upward ever since.
There will come a time when only massive action will do. We’ve gone as far as we can go, reached our ceiling, received a life-changing health diagnosis, or are stuck in our situation due to things out of our control. It’s times like these that we can throw in the towel and choose to be complacent (in-action), or decide to change the game!
Take the action! Decide to change jobs and companies, move out of your area, re-evaluate your circle of influence, or make major changes in how you manage your health and wellness. Take the massive action and create a better circumstance, break down the walls of what is possible, and create a new world of opportunities.
Burn the Boats and Take the Island
I first heard this concept from Tony Robbins, who talks about if you truly want to ‘take the island’ – whatever that means in your life – you should burn the boats you traveled in on – giving you only one direction to go – forward!
To me, this is the largest type of action – no going back, no safety net, no other options. Honestly, this is one type of action I can’t speak to personally, but I have a desire to build up to it at some point in my life.
This is the real game-changing and Earth-shattering action and impact that we can use to make our mark on the world and establish a legacy. We bypass the fear, hesitation, ‘what-if’s’, the doubters and the haters. We put our full faith in ourselves, our abilities, and our passion and go forward!
Not all of us will necessarily make it to this level of action, and there is nothing wrong with that. We can still create tremendous, meaningful, and complete lives through all the other types of action.
But for those of us who do want to make our mark and drive towards world-class in who we are and what we do, let’s build our momentum of action up to the point where we decide to take the island. And when we reach the shore, let’s burn those boats and battle forward.
On the overall topic of taking action, I think Todd Durkin says it best. So to paraphrase him – too many people today take the approach of Ready… Aim… Aim… Aim… but never take action. Let’s flip that on its head and take the approach of Ready… FIRE!… Aim.
The best way to really learn something is to DO IT. Maybe once we do, we find it isn’t want we wanted or hoped for, but it is still a great lesson we can learn from and pivot towards what we really want for ourselves and our future. Let’s put our fear and constant analysis aside and take action now!
Discussion Question: Think about one big goal or dream you have that you’ve been putting off. What is one action you can do TODAY to move one step closer to realizing that goal or dream? Write it down, commit to it, and take that action… now!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."