Take action. It’s simple really.
I’m not going to give you a rah-rah spiel with a think positive twist. Can that work for some of the people some of the time? It’s in the ballpark, sort of. But, what I will offer is 100% effective. Every time! I didn’t invent it, so I won’t take the credit. But, will it work? Yes.
Some people have listened to many hours of the world’s top-notch motivational and self-help guru’s (including me). They have read all the must have books and even gave them to friends and family members (me, too). Those who’ve had some success point to this book or that tape as the reason. And, those that haven’t had success may point to the same book or tape but with blame (I’m guilty, your honor).
They’re both incorrect.
Does this next demonstration sound at all familiar?
Ready to change his life Johnny goes right down to We Sell The Latest New Thing Bookstore. He is enraptured by the wonderful selection of close your eyes and make a wish books. He can’t choose so he buys six of them. Straight home. No time for that frappamochalattachai (with skim please). Johnny boy gets to reading. As he does, he chuckles in agreement with the author wondering how he ever managed to get through life without these nuggets of wisdom. He pours through it and he is ready to show the world the new improved Johnny.
Johnny demands a recount. His life is not better a month down the road. As a matter of fact, he put ten pounds back on for the five he lost (and it took him a much shorter time to do it!). He watches TV instead of reading. He has accepted that his life was destined for run-of-the-mill, eked out living. Motivational and self-help books don’t work and Johnny swears he’ll never read another one.
For a while he doesn’t.
A year later Johnny’s friend tells him about the newest, bestest, self-help author ever. Johnny reads the authors’ series of best-selling books titled, The Newest and Bestest You (1, 2 and 3).
He reads them.
He can’t believe the insight. The profundity. The timeliness.
Two years later a brazened Johnny has lost 25 pounds. He runs his own business that is turning a hefty profit. He rarely watches TV but instead chooses challenging and thought-provoking books and articles. And, of course, he is working on all the classics.
Johnny isn’t about to welcome the old Johnny back because he likes his present life way too much. He’ll fight to keep it.
How very interesting.
What changed from the former Johnny to the latter Johnny?
Before we check back with the new and popular Johnny, let us take a ride back in time to June 3-5th, 1989.
Beginning on the evening of June 3rd, 1989 the People’s Liberation Army of China went about clearing the Tiananmen Square of protesters. The hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians (including a large number of college students) were seeking democratic reform and economic change. They were spurred to action by the recent death of Hu Yaobang an official who was pro-democracy.
Please study this event in depth, but for the purpose of this writing we will abbreviate.
Tanks roll in (late evening of June 3rd) and by 5:40 am on the 4th of June the crowd had been dispersed resulting in death and injury (numbers of which are disputed). As the tanks were departing on June 5th, they approached an intersection on Chang’an Avenue (Eternal Peace), a man who has since been dubbed ‘tank man’ positions himself directly in front of the leading tank. He boldly stands firm in front of a piece of metal weighing in at over 100,000 pounds. The tank attempts to go around, but, the tank man is not swayed and stays in front. Then, the unthinkable occurs. The tank engines are shut off. We are talking about one of the most powerful nations in the world, known for taking swift actions toward any resemblance of dissidence. As if this couldn’t get any better, he then climbs atop the tank to have a brief discussion with the occupants.
Conversation concluded, he descends to ground level. The tank engines are started and the lead tank begins forward. Again, the tank man plants himself in the path of the lead tank. Once again, the tanks halt. Shortly thereafter the tank man is hurried from the front of the formation and out of camera shot. It is still a mystery as to the outcome or whereabouts of the tank man. I can tell you this much: his memory lives on.
And on. You can view the video on YouTube.
Now, I have some questions for you:
Was this caused by a motivational speaker?
Reading a self-help book?
Mp3, audio tapes or CD’s?
I highly doubt these were near his realm of reality on this date. I would further surmise that this ‘tank man’ didn’t wake up that morning with an idea to stop oncoming tanks. He probably wasn’t a careful student of wushu (martial art). I don’t think he was a thrill seeker. But, that’s what he did.
What he did was simple.
He purposed to take action. And then, he took action.
That action caused him to be named to Time Magazine’s top 100 most influential people of the 20th century. That action has spurred on hearts and actions ever since. You may be able to think of many other brave and daring enterprises that have been afforded through the centuries. The tank man is close to the pinnacle for me. Remember, he had no army behind him, just in front of him. But, he had a purpose.
Let’s get back to our boy Johnny.
All of a sudden Johnny is a popular guy. People seek him out at gatherings. His energy is contagious and people try to bottle it. Some friends he’s known for a long time tell him they always knew he’d make it big. Mom says how proud she is of her little Johnny. Before I go further with Johnny’s story, let me tell you some more about him. Johnny is married (14 years), has three children and a dog named spot (a mini pinscher). His hair is receding more than a little. No college. His rhythm is saved for the steering wheel because wifey-pooh can’t handle Johnny doing the two-step on her feet. She does however love the new house and huge kitchen (and Johnny). She was on the fence a bit at first about his new change. You see, Johnny was going to ‘make it’ plenty of times before. Heck, she loved him either way but wasn’t getting her hopes up this time. But, she did start noticing little things: like the garbage was actually being taken out by someone other than her, there was no more hollering at the TV for bad passes or missed calls, but one of her favorite little things, wasn’t so little. Johnny’s pectoralis major was actually becoming major. Johnny’s kids started noticing, too. He would bike ride and play catch. He even let the rascals bury him in a monstrous pile of leaves (and, jump on him!). Friends silently wondered how Johnny was ‘catching’ all the breaks. Every time they turned around Johnny was ‘catching’ yet another break.
Even though he had been advised against touching real estate, he did anyway. He didn’t go blindly at it though. He went to seminars, read books and listened to tapes. He asked successful investors how they did it. It wasn’t easy because Johnny was working 5 12’s down at the plant. Heck, he only had 13 more years to retirement. But, come Saturday, Johnny was working for his dream. At night during the week before succumbing to sleep and just after tucking the children in, was grow time. Reading, listening, building, growing, conversing and dreaming. You see, at some point Johnny decided excuses just wouldn’t work anymore.
He knew that there was something more to life than what he had been getting. He also admitted to himself that the problem wasn’t the rest of the world. The problem all along had been him. That was painful to admit. It was that action of holding himself accountable that became the catalyst for a new way of life for him and his family. He purposed to take action. And, then, he took action. Again and again. It has been a conscious, everyday choice.
Johnny and the ‘tank man’.
The common bond that these two and countless others have had is taking action. Not just thinking, and dreaming and planning, but, acting out. At some point there can’t be another day, more planning, or another excuse. A time must come when you are fed up enough to stand before a column of tanks. When the only life worth living is a life of action.
Acting out may not have been rewarded in grade school, but, the rewards are endless for those brave souls who will act out now. Those who will take action and never turn back will write their own life story. Fortune favors the bold. Will you be bold today? Will you act out for your dreams today?
There is nothing to lose, but your very life to gain. It has made all the difference in my life and will in yours also. Make it happen. Face the tanks. Grow, my friend. Grow.