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The Real Meaning of Action

Recently, someone who’s been reading my books asked me what the word “action” means to me, and the question really got me thinking. Of course, there are actual definitions of action in the dictionary, but that wasn’t what I was being asked about. The question was, really: What is the significance of action to me?

At the surface level, action is obviously a means to produce a desired outcome. For example, someone who wants to get in better shape or get swole can’t just think about it and expect it to happen. At some point, they'll need to act by exercising and eating in a way that can produce the outcome they seek.

But the significance of action is also something deeper than that. As I see it, taking action does two things that are more powerful: (1) it demonstrates our identity, and (2) it builds our self-esteem. Action as a one-time undertaking is not what this is about.

Who you truly believe you are—your identity, if you will—is evident by what you do repeatedly or customarily. A propensity to take committed, consistent action in pursuit of continual self-improvement is one of the great differentiators among people. It means continuing to act even when there is a lack of measurable or observable progress. If you lift weights, you know that just because you lifted a dumbbell yesterday, it doesn’t mean your arms are going to be bigger today. Even if they are, it’s more likely because of the dumbbell you lifted weeks ago.

So, though it’s inspiring to hear stories of people’s massive success and seemingly overnight accomplishments, people rarely hit a grand slam home run in life. The truth is that most efforts, even those of highly accomplished people, produce bunts and base hits that accumulate into something notable over time. If persistence, for instance, is a part of your identity, you’ll be that person who keeps on bunting until they get the result they seek.

As for how action relates to self-esteem, just think about the tendencies of procrastination and paralysis that seem to afflict so many people. Some typical reasons a person would have for not taking action are a lack of ambition, an unclear path forward, or an uncertain outcome. Whatever the reason, I can tell you that when a person knows they should do something important or meaningful but resists taking action, it never makes them feel good about themselves.

Self-esteem is a real thing that produces real outcomes, whether they’re in the gym, in your bank account, or in your relationships with other people. If you want it to be healthy, stop waiting and do what needs to be done. Have a sense of urgency. You may not be able to do it perfectly or see several steps ahead, and the outcome you desire may not be guaranteed. But just do what you know to do now, and the next step will reveal itself. Your self-esteem will thank you for it.

Sayonara until next time.


Get your complimentary copy of the action book “Belief” at this link:
BELIEF | A Fitness-inspired Guide to Taking Action Now Despite Your Re – Bounce Pep

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