noun in·ac·tion \(ˌ)i-ˈnak-shən\ Lack of action or activity, idleness, failure to do something that should be done
How many charity advertisements have you seen in your lifetime which appeals to 'act now'? Chances are the words become less meaningful because we have been asked so many times. What if everyone were to act 'now'- if everyone donated £1 in the UK each time they saw the advertisements then there would be surely much less suffering. However, the sad reality is acting 'now' on anything is not really embraced by that many of us.
How your inaction affects others
Inaction is an epidemic and can be applied to many issues, i.e. the government's inaction, the HR department's inaction, your husband's inaction… Many inactions are out of our control but when it comes to our individual actions we have complete control. Perhaps if we were to act in ways that others would appreciate by doing something active rather than re-active then we would be able to make a bigger impact.
Ask yourself these questions:
How can you make someone else's life better? How can you help meet someone else's objectives? How do other people succeed at doing these things that you're not doing? Now think about the people that surround you. When did you last contact an elderly relative? When did you last surprise your spouse? When did you last really impress your boss?
Perhaps, because of your inaction, your relative/ friend is upset and thinks that you no longer think about them or care. Maybe you need to be doing more than you currently do! Stop coasting and put your foot on the gas- go beyond what is expected of you, do something that is unexpected to improve somebody else's life and ultimately your own.
How inaction is affecting you
What's stopping you? What's the reason for your inaction? Maybe you think you want to do something (be it learn a skill, contact an old friend, change jobs) but you're not sure how to go about it or you're worried about the outcome so you find yourself in stalemate.
Everybody is guilty of inaction but sometimes inaction can be OK. Let me illustrate this with my own examples of inaction and action.
Inaction: I admire confident public speakers but I tend to avoid any public speaking situations- I'd rather stick pins in my eyes. Anything like this results in me hyper-ventilating and hiding under my desk but I really wish I could be more confident. I could put myself into more situations and challenge myself to improve my speaking skills but I'd rather not endure the stress. This kind of inaction is because I simply don't care, I don't want it enough, it's not essential to my day-to-day life and I have other things to concentrate on so I'm OK with that.
Action: However, something I do want to do that I have been putting off (lack of time, fear of failure etc) is learning to drive. At the ripe age of thirty-one I am yet to own my own set of wheels and have just recently taken up driving lessons again. I really wanted to do this and kept putting it off for a number of years but, because I know that it will drastically improve my life, (seeing friends, getting to work easier, having independence) I have finally taken action. I have overcome the obstacles/ excuses that stood in my way and will soon be on the road!
Life coach Michael Neill argues that there are nine things that appear to stop people from creating the things that they think they want. Now ask yourself which of the following stops you? 1. Information, 2. motivation, 3. skill, 4. belief, 5. other people, 6. well-being, 7. time, 8. money and 9. fear. (Fear was my obstacle)
And then ask yourself if your answer is really an obstacle or is it just a convenient excuse? If it's the latter chances are you don't want it enough. Work on getting over your obstacles/ hurdle and take action towards your goal.
Whether to act or not
If you can't decide whether to take action let me help you- simply toss a coin. If you don't have one to hand you can do it online here If it's heads- take action, tails- take no action. Mid-flip you'll probably realise which way you want the coin to land. If not then your gut reaction to which way it lands will tell everything you need to know about what is the correct decision. Listen to your instincts. You do know.
If you are inspired to take action after reading this and would like to help less fortunate people then why not speak to your ACS account manager about how you can help contribute to our charity fundraising for this year's charity partner Children in Need.
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