Sometimes, being proactive isn’t about intelligence. It’s about an initiative.
I know what you’re feeling and I’ve been there. Should you change anything? Should you keep on moving in hopes of a better future? Just like every other intelligent person, you’re probably plagued by insecurities, and you have to weigh the pros and cons of every decision.
As a result of such insecurities, many people are just going through the motions instead of taking action. They’re not proactive. They’re not in charge of their life. They’re not happy because happiness is usually the result of decision-making.
Being busy is one thing. Being fulfilled is something completely different.
You have to realize this difference in order to take control of your life. Otherwise, you’ll just keep yourself busy without experiencing any satisfaction.
What’s the Difference?
Many people just go through the motions. They have an incredibly busy day that’s filled with work, responsibilities, meetings with people that don’t really enrich oneself and personal duties. I know because I was one of these people until recently.
Going through the motions is almost entirely an automatic process. Brainstorming for the purpose of writing an excellent business plan is a motion. Starting to write this plan corresponds to actually taking an action.
As you can see, there’s a huge difference between the two.
Going through the motions is often good. It saves time, and it enables a person to focus on more important tasks. If this is everything that an individual does, however, the potential for development and personal growth will be limited.
Action can be difficult and uncomfortable. There’s a simple reason for this phenomenon – action requires proactive change. Anything that changes in life will disturb the comfortable and familiar existence that we all have. The outcome, however, could be highly rewarding.
Problems that Smart People Face
As I’ve already mentioned in the introduction, it may be difficult for smart people to take action. There are several factors that could potentially contribute to such indecisiveness.
Intelligent people aren’t particularly impulsive. They need to do a lot of planning before going one way or the other. Thorough analysis performed on pros and the cons can be beneficial, but it may also make it impossible to choose the best option.
For these people, failure is an incredibly scary prospect. It would indicate the lack of sufficient planning and personal skill. It would be indicative of insufficient qualities for success. So in order to avoid failure, many intelligent individuals avoid decision-making altogether.
If you’re one of these people, you may be leading a delusional existence. You’ve probably convinced yourself that you’re happy, that you’ve unleashed your full creative potential. By taking a deeper look, however, you will find out that this isn’t the case.
Going through the motions keeps you busy and creates the illusion of a fulfilling life. But businesses and effectiveness aren’t the same things.
You can be keeping yourself busy without getting anything done. You could have a challenging job that isn’t moving anywhere. In the end, the result of the business is a total zero – it just fills your days and prevents you from feeling bored or thinking about your existence.
The Key to Action: Start doing New Things That Terrify You
A cold turkey approach to changing your life may be terrifying but such a “shock therapy” will show you just how much you’re capable of accomplishing.
In order to take action, you should get in the habit of doing new things and embracing such opportunities. This transformation will be terrifying at first. Most of us are scared of the unknown. By pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, however, you will find it a lot easier to take the initiative whenever an opportunity comes by.
You may want to start with little things that you would have said no to in the past. Friends invite you to an after-work party in the middle of the week? Chances are that you would have given up on such opportunity in the past in order to go to bed early. Give it a chance! It’s highly likely that going for a new routine will get those creative juices going.
Try a new work project or sign up for a hobby class. If you’ve been postponing getting in shape, the time is right to choose a fitness class and start attending it on a regular basis.
There’s no need to stick to these changes. Still, give new options a try. If you’re not satisfied with the outcome, you can always give up on the experiment.
Check Your Lifestyle and Your Attitude
Something is standing in the way; something is keeping you from living to the fullest. From personal experience, this something could be your attitude and the lifestyle choice that you’ve made in the past.
Before attempting to push yourself any further, it may be time for a bit of retrospection.
Check your attitude. Are you open to new opportunities? Are you looking for happiness or for the things that simply make you feel comfortable? Happiness will often be difficult to achieve. It will require a conscious effort on your behalf. If you’re just going with the flow, chances are that you’re not happy. You’re simply leading a stress-free life.
Every single moment counts, and the same applies to every choice that you make. Spend some time on analyzing past choices and the things that inspired you to do one thing or the other. Chances are that you will learn a lot about yourself this way.
The same applies to your lifestyle. Do you have a job that you love or a job that simply gives you some security? Are you with a significant other that makes you feel complete, understood and appreciated? The fear of the unknown, the fear of being alone and becoming a complete failure may be pushing you down the safe road. When you pick this road, however, you are giving up on the prospect of happiness.
Come Up with a Deadline
Even if you do a thorough analysis of your thinking and you understand your mistakes and your past failures, chances are that you’ll still find yourself incapable of taking action.
It starts with pinpointing what needs to be done. Satisfied that you’ve found the answer, you’ll probably leave it there for some time. You’ll push the new goal further into the future. You will also find a reason to rationalize the decision – you’re too busy, the time is not right, you have more important things to take care of at the time being.
Once you set a goal and you get an idea of the action that will have to be undertaken, you should set a deadline. Determine how much time you’ll need to get things done and begin working on changing your life.
If you’re not pressed by a certain timeframe, chances are that you’ll never get things moving. Planning is great, but it’s not the same as taking action. Don’t leave yourself with an indefinite amount of time to get things done. Nothing will change this way.
Find People to Inspire You
Many smart people find themselves incapable of introducing change in their life at all. They’re uncertain; they lack inspiration. If you are one of these people, you should look for a mentor or a similar-minded individual to inspire you.
Who are your current friends? What are their goals in life? Are these people pushing you to do something new, to be a better person? Or are you with them because the respective social circle makes you feel adequate at the time being?
Befriend the people that are similar to what you see yourself becoming one day.
A mentor can help you change your mindset and realize what is it that you’d like to do in the future. A mentor can also teach you how to take action, even when you feel scared to death of the consequences.
Here’s one of the simplest examples pertaining to this tip – people who have an exercise buddy find it a lot easier to stick to a workout routine and transform their body. Even when they don’t feel like going to the gym, these people will be pushed by someone who has a similar goal and who wants both to succeed.
It may be time to look for new friends, colleagues, and business partners. Long-lasting friendships aren’t the ones to give up, acquaintances that don’t result in any fulfillment are. Sooner or later, you will understand that you don’t need tons of people in your life. You need solely the ones that are by your side, that challenge you, support you and give you honest opinions no matter what.
Taking action is difficult even for successful people. There’s always an element of uncertainty. This element of uncertainty, however, is the one that makes life exciting. Risks can be controlled and circumstances can be modified to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.
If you’ve been asleep for too long, you will need some time to make the change. Still, give it a try. Once you get used to an active lifestyle, you will probably feel happier and more alive than ever.