Small steps to success

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 is to 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 with similar goals become aligned with you. You begin to learn things from your experience that cannot be learned from listening to others or from reading books. You get feedback on how to do it better, more efficiently, and more quickly. Things that once seemed confusing start to become clear. You begin to attract others who will support and encourage you. All manner of good things begin to flow in your direction once you take action.

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. 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 started out to produce – or something even better.

To be successful, you have to do what successful people do, and successful people are highly action-oriented. Taking action generates successful outcomes. However obvious it seems taking action defeats inertia and guarantees at least some kind of a result. Doing nothing is paralysis. Being cautious is OK but only if it is shaped by past experience. Sometimes it pays not to wait for instructions but to just go for it!

Planning has its place but it must be kept in perspective. Some people spend their whole lives waiting for the perfect time to do something. There’s rarely a perfect time to do anything. What is important is just to get started. Once you do, you will start to get feedback that will help you make the corrections you need to make to be successful. Once you are in action, you will start learning at a much more rapid rate.

Fire first, aim later

Most people are familiar with the phrase ‘Ready, aim, fire’. The problem is that too many people spend their whole life aiming and never firing. They are always getting ready, getting it perfect. The quickest way to hit a target is to fire, see where the bullet landed and then adjust your aim accordingly. If the hit was two inches above the target, lower your aim a little. Fire again. See where it is now. Keep firing and readjusting. Soon you are hitting the bull’s-eye. The same is true for anything.

Many people fail to take action because they’re afraid to fail. Successful people, on the other hand, realise that failure is an important part of the learning process. They know that failure is just a way we learn by trial and error. Not only do we need to stop being so afraid of failure but we also need to be willing to fail – even eager to fail. Simply get started, make mistakes, listen to the feedback, correct and keep moving forward towards the goal.

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