A latin phrase that means ‘deeds not words’, and has been a kind of ‘note to self’ tattooed on my left wrist since some time around the turn of the millennium. A call to action; do it, don’t say it – because no-one ever got anything done by just talking – are you listening out there politicians? ‘Cos I’m… erm, speaking…
It’s true, many of us like to spend our time ‘putting the world to rights’ in conversation, but heroes, pioneers and innovators – the people who really command respect and a place in history – have one thing in common; they take action.
When Sir Isaac Newton penned his third law of motion; – ‘every action has an equal and opposite reaction’ – he was talking about physics, actual physical movement. When you get up from reading this article and walk to whatever I’ve hopefully inspired you to do, your feet will push on the floor, and the floor will push back. The harder you hit the floor, the harder the floor hits you.
Sir Isaac was officially the first ‘apple genius’ (if you don’t get that, go and look it up!). Although he was thinking purely physically, he hit on the exact reason that most of us spend our time talking about what we’re ‘going to do’ rather than actually doing it. It’s because every action has a re-action that often the most amazing achievements can only be made in the most challenging circumstances… the harder it is to get, the more worthwhile the result.
It’s also why effort is tiring, and as such, why many give up when the going gets tough. Less effort means less resistance. Many of the best people in their field, whatever it may be, often feel slighted by talk of their ‘talent’… I bet most, if not all of them would tell you that it took a lot of effort, practice and determination to become that ‘talented’.
This human tendency towards the path of least resistance is devastating to the world around us. Nature, its resources and its ability to thrive are seriously struggling because it’s easy to take things and say we’ll put them back later… actually doing it requires action, and action creates resistance.
We’re all headed downstream, and the more get swept along, the stronger the current, and the easier it is to get carried away with it. Swimming upstream is hard, but if we all do it, we can slow the flow, and it will get easier. In the mean time, the challenge, the fight is the path to a better life.
If you don’t believe me, I’m calling you out; for the next month I challenge you to challenge yourself. Take that one thing you’ve been talking about doing ‘for ages’, and just do it. Don’t make excuses; if at the end of the month you can honestly – and I mean honestly – say you tried your hardest and it didn’t work out, you can still be proud that you tried your hardest!
Pick up that musical instrument… it’s hard, but how great does it feel when you ‘get it’ finally! Join the gym… sure, it’s killer at first, but how amazing does it feel to see changes that come directly from effort! Clean that bike up and ride to work… saving money, the environment and your heart from the effects of the summer BBQs! Clean that room in your house out, find the cure for cancer or start that business that will make your first million – whatever it is, you aren’t doing it unless you’re doing it.
Remember – facta non verba. Yes, I know you don’t speak latin… neither do I – no excuses: Action not Words!