Action makes more fortune than caution

“Action makes more fortune than caution.”

Luc DeClapiers, 18th Century French Essayist

Image from Amazon

The past few years have been times of considerable change for most of us.

With time to reflect and explore changes in myself and others, I’ve recognized today’s quote as being spot on.

Wendy and I recently moved to a senior community outside of Philadelphia. Since then, I’ve noticed a number of trends among the residents.

The people who remain active are far younger at heart and generally have richer lives that include better health and vitality. Those folks that are less active, venture out less often, and have fewer social interactions seem to experience the opposite.

EXERCISE:

Consider reading The Power of Full Engagement by James E. Loehr and Tony Schwartz to see how being in action can support you in leading a more energetic and richer life.

The forced separation from ordinary ambitions

“The forced separation from ordinary ambitions temporarily right sizes one’s life.”

—Arthur C. Brooks, faculty member of the Harvard Business School

Image from Pixels by Lukáš Vaňátko

How often do you wake up in the morning with a strong sense of peace and calm?

What percent of the time do your thoughts spring into action with all the to-dos for the day, before your feet even hit the floor?

When do you first check your phone for texts or emails that have piled up overnight?

How many truly important messages do you receive each day, and how many do you consider clutter of junk?

Although we are now well into summer, there is always time to do a bit of spring cleaning.

How would some forced separation from your ordinary ambitions that clutter your various inboxes help you right size your life?

EXERCISE:

Where would unsubscribing and removing various barriers to your aliveness make the biggest difference?

Where can and will you begin today?

“Without jumping off its perch, the bird would never fly.”

“Without jumping off its perch, the bird would never fly.”

—Mark Nepo, author of The Book of Awakening

Image from Unsplash by AARN GIRI

I love to watch documentaries and educational programing about animals and our natural world. The best programs include outstanding visuals and a compelling story about how these creatures go about securing food, avoiding predators, finding a mate, and adapting to their environments.

Among all the animals, there is something magical about young birds. They go from helpless, blind, squawking mouths to feed to soaring sparrows and eagles that can inspire even the most sedentary couch potato of us to get up and spread our wings — even if it is just to secure another snack.

EXERCISE:

Where is it necessary for you or others in your communities to jump off your perch and spread your wings? What will you do, and where will you go when you fly?

“Notice if you are watching what is happening or if you are a part of it.”

“Notice if you are watching what is happening or if you are a part of it.”

—Mark Nepo, Author of The Book of Awakening

Image from Unsplash by Bruce Lee

When my children were young, we took them to a local farm and adopted two cats. We named them Oreo and Cookie due to their black and white fur patterns. Their primary residence in our home was our spacious sun room where they could watch the birds, squirrels, and other creatures from their beds or favorite cushioned chairs.

The only time they left our home was to visit the vet, which involved placing them reluctantly in carriers, which they hated. Just the sight of these prisons caused them all kinds of distress and to lose clumps of fur.

The decision to have indoor cats was for our convenience, and we did our best to provide lots of attention and kitty toys to entertain them. Having each other for company helped us also feel better about this decision.

EXERCISE:

To what degree are you engaged in an indoor life of watching? How and in what ways can you move out from the windows and screens of your world to be more “out and about” with others in your various communities?

“Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you least expect it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.”

“Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you least expect it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.”

—Charles F. Kettering, 20th Century American inventor and engineer

Image from Unsplash by Jose Aljovin

The average inventor produces about three patents in their lifetime. A prolific inventor produces around 15. Charles Kettering, who founded Delco and worked for General Motors from 1920 to 1947, was the holder of 186 patents.

He was clearly a person of action, not one to sit things out on the sidelines.

Another one of my favorite quotes from Kettering is:

“My Interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.”

EXERCISE:

Where are you currently stopped in your life?

Where are you sitting it out, hoping that things will miraculously improve on their own?

Where is it time to stand up and get going again so that you can stumble on something that will add greater meaning and satisfaction to your life?

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

—Vincent Van Gogh, 19th Century Dutch Painter

Image from vangoghmuseul.nl

During his lifetime Van Gogh created 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of which date from the last two years of his life. Doing the math, you can see that during that period he averaged over two paintings per day. Imagine how many small brush strokes he used to create masterpieces such as Sunflowers- 1888, Café Terrace at Night- 1888, The Bedroom- 1888, Starry Night- 1889, and Irises- 1889.

EXERCISE:

Where and how are you placing your own series of small daily brush strokes on the canvas of your life to achieve and contribute your own greatness to your world?

“We often avoid taking action because we think, I need to learn more, but the best way to learn is often by taking action.”

“We often avoid taking action because we think, I need to learn more, but the best way to learn is often by taking action.”

—James Clear, author, entrepreneur, and photographer

Image from Unsplash by Ethan Elisara

Following a two-year career as a middle school science teacher in Philadelphia, I secured a job as a pharmaceutical sales representative with the Upjohn Company.

That’s right — in the early 80s I was a legal drug dealer, promoting Motrin for pain and arthritic conditions to physicians, over other meds available at the time.

My training was rigorous, with an initial one-month stint in chilly Kalamazoo, Michigan in January. The company — which is now part of Pfizer — was about a century old at the time and took great pride in preparing over 1,000 sales reps to be among the best in the industry.

Once our book learning was complete, we were sent out to work with our district managers, to get field experience meeting with real doctors, intending to influence them to prescribe our magic orange tablets.

In the beginning, my manager did most of the work, describing features and benefits of our medications over those of our competitors. Following a few such interactions, my manager, Stan Ershler, informed me that he had to leave. I indicated that I would head right home to continue my studies. He said, Absolutely not! Go out and find some more physicians to talk to — see what happens! I definitely could have used a pill for panic attacks at that time!

With great patience and a bit of tough love, I was out the door, diving in the deep end in my new career.

EXERCISE:

Where are you hesitating or procrastinating on taking action because you feel you need to learn more?

In what situation is taking action and getting in the game likely to be your best teacher?

“Action Precedes Passion.”

“Action Precedes Passion.”

—Bill Burnett & Dave Evans, Designing Your Life

Image from Unsplash by Ian Schneider

What are the things in life you love the most? What inspires you? What are you passionate about?

Asking these questions of anyone will likely lead to a highly engaging discussion with eyes wide open and perhaps some energetic and animated gestures.

How does one person find passion in fly fishing, while another finds it in preparing sushi?

Where and when did you first notice an initial interest in your passions?

How did this spark lead to the raging fires of engagement over time?

EXERCISE:

Take note of the early actions you and others took to get hooked on your current passions. Where might future actions and trying new activities generate a few more passionate pursuits in the years ahead?

“Go beyond the expected.”

“Go beyond the expected.”

—Author Unknown

Image from EmpireOnLIne

 

One of our family’s most beloved film series is Toy Story. We have seen most of the films multiple times. Now with our two-and-a-half-year-old grandson Weston we have many more exposures, including action figures and his Woody and Buzz Lightyear pajamas.

When asked to describe Buzz, virtually everyone can repeat his famous “To infinity and beyond” phrase with bold enthusiasm. It uplifts and motivates all of us to channel our own superpowers, do great things, and exceed our own current potential.

EXERCISE:

Where and in what ways can you go well beyond the expectations others have for you in your personal or professional communities? What bold and significant actions can and will you take today to reach beyond your own perceived limits and exceed your own expectations?