Tag Archives: taking action

Practical Action And Common Sense

17 May 2010, by A. Cedilla

There’s a time for planning and a time for action. But action just to fill the time is mere busy-work. Practicality is the defining line that differentiates busywork from being truly productive. If you want to get Something Done, you have to have solid results in mind when you start, and solid results in hand when you stop.

Practical : ” the usefulness and applicability of an action.” Sure, you saved up for enough money to get new tires, you’ve been meaning to do so for quite some time, but right now you have a flat. What do you do?

  • Based on practice or action rather than theory or hypothesis
  • Being likely to be effective and applicable to a real situation; able to be put to use
  • Of a person, having skills or knowledge that are practical

Action – “Something done so as to accomplish a purpose.” (emphasis added). So, flat tire. Based on your skills and preparedness, you can change the tire yourself, re-inflate it with a handy tire-inflation kit , call AAA , or call a friend to help you out. When you get home, then you can think about getting the money and going out to buy new tires.
Continue reading Practical Action And Common Sense

Actions Lead to Consequences

28 April 2010, by A. Cedilla

It’s a sad truth that we generally spend more time spinning day-dreams than laying-out the steps to make these dreams come true, and even less time actually taking these steps.

Admittedly, dreaming cost us nothing. You can day-dream about whatever you want, wherever and whenever you want.

Acting on your dreams, on the other hand, can cost you a lot. That’s why it’s can be so uncomfortable and nerve-wracking to take action, because it involves risks, consequences and the possibility of failure. Emphasis on consequences. (And the possibility of failure.)

Actions lead to consequences. You want a particular consequence, you have to commit to the particular set of actions needed to get that particular consequence.
Continue reading Actions Lead to Consequences

Jump! Using Momentum To Deal With Procrastination

12 April 2010, by A. Cedilla

Have you ever watched someone freeze on the dive-board at the swimming pool? It’s something to see.

Usually it’s a kid who just realized just how high the board is over the water, and freezes. From the vantage point of the swimmers in the water, it’s no big deal, just take the step, but for the poor guy staring down, taking that step is inconceivable. Unimaginable. Impossible, just — Aaaugh!

That’s what procrastination is. You freeze before the jump. It’s being stuck on the diving board, wobbling. The wobble is composed of worrying and catastrophizing, self blame, and inertia. You can’t move.

You can’t move.

So what do you do? Start. Start anywhere. Increase the wobble — build up momentum. And then jump.
Continue reading Jump! Using Momentum To Deal With Procrastination

How To Build Your Skills

24 March 2010, by A. Cedilla

A skill is the ” capacity to do something well; (a) technique, ability. Skills are usually acquired or learned, as opposed to abilities, which are often thought of as innate.”

Think of all the stuff you learned to do since you were a kid: learning to sit up, walking, feeding yourself. Tying your shoes, reading and writing, and learning to play well with others. And you added on new skills as you grew older. How to throw a curve-ball, maybe, and summarize a story, or set a budget for the grocery and household bills, or lead a meeting. You have a lot of skills, you just take them for granted.

How many skills do you need to acquire to build the life you want? Where do you even start looking to get them? Here are a few simple steps to get you started:
Continue reading How To Build Your Skills

7 Steps to Successful Change 3

18 December 2009, by A. Cedilla

Recapping the previous parts of this small series of articles, the first two stages on the way to making lasting change involves contemplation, analyzing what you need and want to change in your life to make it better, and then accepting that you’re going to encounter problems and resistance on the way.

The final stage is taking action.

Here now are the last two steps:

6. Practice, practice, practice.
Lather, rinse, repeat. After all, what is practice except constant repetition of a particular action? The resistance will come out in full force at this stage, and now it’s up to you to bear the discomfort as you train yourself to do what it takes to make your desired changes stick.

This includes not letting things distract you from taking the steps you need to take towards your goal, like your old habit of hitting the snooze button (even though you set your clock 15 minutes early so it’s okay, you know, there’s still time, sheesh.) in favor of actually getting up so you can do what needs to be done: exercise, write your novel, whatever. Continue reading 7 Steps to Successful Change 3

Don’t Go In Blind

07 December 2009, by A. Cedilla

Whatever business enterprise you’re a) thinking of starting yourself or b) thinking of joining up with, you have your own reasons for doing so — and whether it’s for the money, personal satisfaction or realizing a life-long dream, you have to have realized at some point that knowledge is power.

The more you learn and the more experiences you acquire, the better you can steer your life towards successfully attaining your goals.

Now, this isn’t a call to avoid perfectionism or deal with procrastination. Neither is it a call to action, either. You know what needs doing better than anyone else. If you have your own vision and you’re on your way to making it real, you’re old enough to decide for yourself what you want, what price you’re willing to pay for it, and where you want to go with our life. This is just a quiet reminder to know what you’re getting yourself into. This way, you can take steps to ensure that your dreams don’t go up in smoke. Continue reading Don’t Go In Blind

Nobody Plans For Failure

30 November 2009, by A. Cedilla

“Failure is not an option.”
Assorted characters in countless action movies.

Q: “I’ve always tried to teach you two things. First, never let them see you bleed.”
James Bond: “And the second ?”
Q: “Always have an escape plan.”
The incomparable Desmond Llewelyn, as Q, in The World Is Not enough, 1999


Movies are an excellent source of memorable quotes, as well as providing bountiful fodder for the imagination.

Admit it, we imagine ourselves as heroes all the time. Saving the day, living the high life, triumphing over incredible odds…it’s great. And it can set us up for disappointment.

Imagination is vital in injecting passion and power into any life, but sometimes, relying too much on its positive side can leave you with too-high expectations, which just makes for a longer fall. (Insert timely slogan here: ” I’m not a pessimist, I’m a REALIST.”)

Think about it. In all your wildest imaginings and most earnest visualization exercises, did you every really see yourself failing? Of course you’d have back-ups and alternates up the wazoo, but did you ever hit the wall of Dammit-this-CAN’T-be-happening and just — stop? Continue reading Nobody Plans For Failure

5 Tips For Your Best Performance

11 November 2009, by A. Cedilla

 1. Know Your Motivation
Many people let time slip away from them and flounder in indecision because they have no clear idea of what they really want.

If you’re determined to save yourself from regret and wasting your time in fruitless distractions, you need to be clear about your goals.

If you do the work to find out what it is that truly keeps you committed to giving your best, you can tailor the important aspects of your life to support you in achieving your goals and bringing you one step closer to realizing your biggest dreams.

Having a clear vision helps you to distinguish the toxic, non-supportive elements and dead weight from your life so you can address them.

For example, say you want a better work-life balance; knowing your priorities determines the steps you need to take next.

You learn to procrastinate less and focus more on productive activities that come from concrete actions, thereby freeing up more time to focus on your personal life and your family. See?

Far too often, conflicting and competing activities stretch us beyond our tolerance, and eventually something snaps, leaving us depleted, listless and unable to move on.

Counter this by determining what motivates you, and you can take the right steps to get you going with the most important tasks at hand. Continue reading 5 Tips For Your Best Performance

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. Continue reading Motion is Not Action

Changing on Purpose 1

18 August 2009, by A. Cedilla

Change. Some people avoid it more than they prepare for it, preferring to act like if they don’t see it, it’s not there. Does pulling a blanket over your head to keep the boogeyman out seem smart to you?

On the other hand, some prepare for it — and then fight themselves in accepting that it happens. I guess you know how this goes. You’ve just gotten safe, gotten comfortable, and then here it comes again, dammit.

You have to accept that change is inevitable. Ready or not, everything changes.

Kids grow up, adults too. Relationships evolve into different directions. Jobs come and go. Careers can be interrupted by events outside your control.

Everything changes. You do too, only your self-concept often changes more slowly than you would consciously see.

The key word here is conscious. Awareness of your ability, responsibility and power to change can bring you to places you’ve only ever dreamed of, and out of uncomfortable or painful situations you only thought were unchangeable. Continue reading Changing on Purpose 1