Motion is Not Action

21 August 2009, by A. Cedilla

Staring at the flames from something burning on the stove is doing something. Turning off the heat and protecting your hand while dumping the pan in the sink is getting something done.

Another scenario: Watching TV is doing something. Turning it off to clean the garage of the stuff you mean to give to Goodwill is getting something done.

Do you see it yet?

It’s an old military axiom. “Never mistake doing something for getting something done.” Behind this short, pithy sentence is a whole mindset that can do wonders for providing clarity and peace of mind.

How can a cliche give you clarity and peace of mind?

Getting something done implies that:
a) that action was taken to take you closer to a pre-established goal
b) that action was a deliberate choice, the best one among a set of alternates.

Steps that ‘take you closer to a pre-established goal’, presupposes that you DO have a definite goal in mind. You’re not lost, aimlessly wandering and getting into whatever catches your attention at the moment.

A definite goal is a defined goal , one which you took the time to think about and decided you wanted to happen. That means you went through the process of being focused, paying attention to what you wanted or needed, and thinking out how many ways you could make it happen.

That entire process gives you clarity. You shine a light on what you want or need. You have a vision in mind of what you want to make real.

That light, that vision? That’s clarity, right there.

Peace of Mind
‘…The best among a set of alternates.’
You pick from the possibilities. You recognize that Plan A may not work, so you come up with back-ups and alternate routes. Strategic thinking, situational knowledge and experience comes into play, and you go with the choice that offers the highest probability of succeeding.

By putting yourself into play, you’re committed. Peace of mind comes when you know to your bones that you gave your best.

‘A deliberate choice…’
It’s really stressful to be forced to do something, right? It’s stressful, and sometimes easier, in some ways. Complain all you will, you’re doing it because Someone or Something (an event, a particular set of circumstances) made you.

So if something goes wrong, it’s not your fault. You just followed orders and did what you were told. Seething and fuming all the time.


If an action you take is one you do freely, deliberately, you take the power in that moment of choosing, and make it your own.

You don’t borrow someone else’s authority or semblance of power — remove that person or that situation, who will you be?  Someone who let the other person or the situation define them.

You create and build up your own power with every deliberate choice you make. You create and define your self with each decision you make freely and with conscious intent. It’s something you do, an action you take for yourself in accomplishing your goals, not something that stems from impulse, unrecognized desires, or happenstance.

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