Act on your plan


“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle” – Abraham Lincoln

The world doesn’t pay you for what you know; it pays you for what you do. There’s an enduring axiom of success that says, “The universe rewards action.” Yet, as simple and as true as this principle is, it’s surprising how many people get bogged down in analysing, planning, and organising when what they really need to do is take action.

When you take action, you trigger all kinds of things that will inevitably carry you to success. You let those around you know that you are serious in your intention. People wake up and start paying attention. People with similar goals become aligned with you. You begin to learn things from your experience that cannot be learnt from listening to others or from reading books. You begin to get feedback about how to do it better, more efficiently, and more quickly. Things that once seemed confusing begin to become clear. Things that once appeared difficult begin to be easier. You begin to attract others who will support and encourage you. All manner of good things begin to flow in your direction once you begin to take action.

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Talk is cheap

Over the years of teaching and coaching people in my company and in my seminars, I have found that the one thing that seems to separate winners from losers more than anything else is that winners take action. They simply get up and do what has to be done. Once they have developed a plan, they start. They get into motion. Even if they don’t start perfectly, they learn from their mistakes, make the necessary corrections, and keep taking action, all the time building momentum, until they finally produce the result they set out to produce…or something even better than they conceived of when they started.

To demonstrate the power of taking action in my seminars, I hold up a $100 bill and ask, “Who wants this $100 bill?” Invariably, most of the people in the audience will raise their hands. Some will wave their hands vigorously back and forth; some will even shout out “I want it” or “I’ll take it” or “give it to me.” But I just stand there calmly holding out the bill until they get it. Eventually, someone jumps out of her seat, rushes to the font of the room, and takes the bill from my hand.

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After the person sits down – now $100 richer for his efforts – I ask the audience, “What did this person do that no one else in the room did? She got off her butt and took action. She did what was necessary to get the money. And that is exactly what you must do if you want to succeed in life. You must take action, and, in most cases, the sooner the better.”

I then ask, “How many of you thought about getting up and just coming and taking the money but stopped yourselves?” I then ask them to remember what they told themselves that stopped them from getting up.The usual answers are

“I didn’t want to look like I wanted or needed it that badly.”

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“I wasn’t sure if you would really give it to me.”

“I was too far back in the room.”

“Other people need it more than I do.”

“I didn’t want to look greedy.”

“I was afraid I might be doing something wrong and then people would judge me or laugh at me.”

“I was waiting for further instructions.”


I then point out that whatever things they said to stop themselves are the same things that they say to stop themselves in the rest of their lives.

One of the universal truths in life is “How you do anything is how you do everything.” If you are cautions here, you are probably cautious everywhere. If you hold yourself back for fear of looking foolish here, you probably hold yourself back for fear of looking foolish elsewhere. You have to identify those patterns and break through them. It’s time to stop holding yourself back and just go for the gold.



Culled from How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield


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