What do you do when you’re full of great ideas but can’t seem to get yourself to put any of them into action?
In this article I’m going to address a couple of the root causes of the problem and suggest one way to start getting yourself to take tangible action.
One of the main reasons we hesitate is fear and the feelings of discomfort that accompany change. There are plenty of books available on how to deal with fear – Susan Jeffers Feel the Fear and do it Anyway is perhaps the most popular. Avy Joseph says in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Your route out of Perfectionism, Self-Sabotage and other Everyday Habits: “Tension and discomfort are necessary feelings in the process of achieving your goal. In fact, ifyou do not experience them then the goal is either not important or not what you really want.”
There’s a statement most people won’t expect.However, here we are focusing on what to do when it seems like you want to get going – but…somehow…can’t.
Part of it is to do with the way we have trained our motor cortex, the bit of our brain that gets us to act.
For some people, they neurologically associate thinking with doing, a kind of thinking-doing compulsion. These (at one end of the scale) are the go-getters who rush in‘where angels fear to tread’.Have you ever seen that statue of the man sitting down with his elbow on his knee and his hand on his chin? That’s Rodan’s The Thinker and he represents people at the other end of the scale.
For example, do you know someone who talks a lot but doesn’t take action? (is it you?)
Or someone who likes to discuss how things can and should be done but doesn’t actually do those things that often?
Scientists theorise that for the first group, thinking activates their motor cortex,their desire to move, to do and for the other group there is a delay or a much weaker connection between thinking ……. and doing – their mind does not translate their thoughts into the desire to use their bodies as actively as the first group. (This is not a good-versus-bad thinking styles by-the-way, just contrasting extremes – most people have a mixture of the two.)
If you look at a young child, you’ll see how they think of something they want (like a lipstick left on the table) and they’ll go straight for it, pick it up, and usually draw with it! That process gets inhibited as we grow – the pathway from idea and intention to action gets blocked, inhibited – underused. There are several ways to ‘clean the path’ but one is simply to practice ‘externalising your concepts of best living’.
This high minded phrase simply means knowing what behaviors you will use to express your concepts (the ideas and definitions you use to understand the world).
So let’s take an example: 1 Corinthians 13:4 from the Bible is a verse often used at weddings and the first few lines read:“love is patient, love is kind…”
But what is patience and how do you express it?
Before you roll your eyes and exclaim “everyone knows what patience is” try answering the question:What is patience?
Now, what are the external expressions of patience? In other words, how do you DO patience?
If we were watching you on a television screen with your child, spouse, best friend etc what would you point to that would show us know you were being ‘patient’?
There is your mental definition of patience which might be “allowing others to express themselves in their own way at their own speed” and then there is the observable manifestations of that which could be: I am listening without interrupting, I have steady breathing, nodding, eye contact.
Or take saving money. Do you think it’s a good idea? Most people do.But do you save? How much?You might know what ‘saving money’ means but do you do it? What would you have to DO to actually match up your internal concept of saving with external actions?
Go down to the bank and actually deposit money?Use telephone banking and set up a direct debit?
The point is that – although this might seem quite a mechanical process – if you have a fairly limited experience of being ‘patience’ and ‘saving’ then you mightwant to expand your repertoire of behaviors.
What you are doing is translating ‘mind’ into muscle. If there is a concept or principle such as ‘wealth is built by saving 10% of income’ that you want to putinto practice, you can start by asking yourself:What behaviours would I actually have to do to put that into practice?
You can also imagine yourself doing those behaviours (as the brain cannot easily tell the difference between real activity and imagined activity).Then you can ask yourself: “What is the smallest possible step I could take towards putting that into practice?”And do it.
In this way, you begin to build a pathway from simply thinking to doing, and you are building a reference experience of taking action for your motor cortex to refer to. This begins to build an Implementation SuperHighway. And before you know it, you are taking more action than you ever thought before – you are…Living Your Words.
If you want to do this for yourself, get the Mind to Muscle Super Guide. To find out more, and to purchase please visit: http://www.personal-powerpack.com/mindtomuscle.html
To find out more, and to purchase please visit: http://www.personal-powerpack.com/mindtomuscle.html