Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows that it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle; when the sun comes up, you’d better be running!
It’s the same with each of our lives. Life requires action. Life involves movement. We must keep moving to accomplish what we need to be accomplishing. Herbert N. Casson agrees with this premise. He said, “There is no fate that plans men’s lives. Whatever comes to us, good or bad, is usually the result of our own action or lack of action.”
Margaret Thacher said, “No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions.”
His taking action is why we tell his story today.
There are four types of people in this world. One type is those who excitedly go, “ready, fire, aim.” They are so anxious to take action that they jump ahead in the sequence. Action results, but it usually misses the mark because of a failure to focus before taking the action.
A second type is those who go, “fire, fire, fire, fire, fire...” They have plenty of action, but don’t have any direction. They may hit the target from time to time, but they waste a lot of energy in the process. A third type is those who go, “ready, ready, aim, aim, ready, aim, ready...” They spend plenty of time planning, but never get around to taking any action.
The fourth type is those who go, “ready, aim, fire.” This is the type of person that we should all strive to be. In this controlled sequence they plan, focus, and then take the action necessary to accomplish the task.
Who do you know that is best described by the first category of some planning, but action being taken before focusing? Who do you know who falls into the “fire, fire, fire, fire...” group? Who do you know who talks and talks but procrastinates and never gets around to acting? Which of these type people are the most difficult to be around?
Who do you know that falls into the fourth category of methodically planning and accomplishing their tasks?
Which of the four types of people are you?
The opposite of action is procrastination. Procrastination is the fertilizer that makes difficulties grow. Ed Young put it comparably, “Procrastination is the thief of time.” John Maxwell said, “One of the most common excuses for procrastination is ‘The timing is not right yet.’” Sometimes the timing is not right. But often it becomes an excuse to avoid taking necessary action.
We fail every time we don’t take action. Failure is not the result of trying something new and not succeeding, it occurs when one does not take any action in the first place. What I am saying is that there are three guaranteed ways to avoid failure: say nothing, do nothing, and be nothing. If you live your life with the sole purpose of avoiding failure, you won’t ever accomplish anything of any significance.
Helen Keller said, “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
One of my favorite quotes is by Theodore Roosevelt. He tells about the importance of taking action. He refers to it as entering the arena. He said, “ The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Former Alabama Crimson Tide Football Coach, Bear Bryant had a sign that he hung in the locker room of each team that he coached. The sign read, “CAUSE SOMETHING TO HAPPEN.” Whether the player was the right tackle, the defensive linebacker, the quarterback, or even the place kicker, When that pigskin was snapped Coach Bryant wanted action from each player who wore the crimson red uniform.
My challenge to you is to for you to cause movement to occur. Take action. What is it that you have been putting off? Life is not designed to be lived on the sideline. It is not a spectator sport. Jump into the arena. Bill Glass once said, “When you get an insight or inspiration, do something about it in 24 hours or the odds are against your ever acting on it.” So take action and do it now, don’t procrastinate. Cause something to happen. Be ready and aim, but then be sure and fire!
Just a thought...
Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org:email@example.com or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.