Learning the lessons first.
Lessons are often learned by the mistakes we make, with this comes the understanding, that we’re not perfect. We come to the realization that perfection doesn’t really exist, but only the intention, of doing the best we can. Who wants to be perfect anyway? “Me” I hear you say, but then of course, perfection leaves no room for improvement does it. With every mistake we make, we discover more and more about ourselves, who we are, our limits, and our capabilities for what we can and can’t do.
This helps us to be more compassionate and tolerant with ourselves and others. This can only come from attempting things ourselves, not theorizing about the actions we may possibly take in the future. The balance is between the lessons we learn from our own experiences, and learning from the mistakes of others, so that we don’t make the same mistakes ourselves.
There is nothing wrong with having a library full of self help books and watching U-tube documentaries. Many great authors and film makers have plenty of wisdom to pass on. While planning strategizing and learning are good, they don’t produce results, only action can do that. If we are only going to theorize and never take any action, all we are doing, is having mental masturbation with ourselves.
We can’t learn to swim by reading books about swimming, we need to jump in, get wet and make mistakes… and now we are getting somewhere. Our self-esteem and confidence will only come from actions taken. Obviously this is not to be confused with jumping in feet first, with no planning at all and just expecting things to work.
Converting lessons learned into action.
A small part of my own journey has been on this web site, it hasn’t been easy, I don’t come from an academic background and I’m no computer wiz either. It’s been terribly frustrating at times, and at one point, I had the distinct feeling my brain was frying. Time and again I crashed the whole site and had to start over, but in the end I stopped thinking, launched the site and learned by my mistakes. And there were plenty of them and still are, but I took action and that’s what’s important. As long as we do the best we possibly can, then there is nothing more we can ask of ourselves.
I could have paid someone to do the whole process, but what lessons would I have learnt then? As long as we take appropriate action, we can’t help but grow into a better version of ourselves. There is nothing wrong with faking it till we make it in certain circumstances. If this is what helps us to start taking the action that otherwise, would not have happened. My experience has been to approach any situation with total honesty, if I don’t know, then I’m going to say I don’t know. Without taking this to the extreme, you will learn a lot more by playing dumb and listening carefully, than you ever will pretending you know. You might learn something from another persons perspective, that you can later use to develop your own.
Taking action with the lessons learned.
It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result. (Mahatma Gandhi)
Action is proof to ourselves that we’re willing to do what ever it takes. A lot of the self-defeating parts of ourselves fall away when we prove through action that we are willing to keep going. God helps those who help themselves. The harder I work the luckier I become. These statements reflect an ideal that as individuals, we are better off to take action and except responsibility for ourselves. Not only do we benefit from this, but there is a knock on effect for society as well.
Inaction is harder to see in the short term.
When we take action, the costs are usually immediate and obvious. The rejection we might face, the failure we might have to accept, all of these things are painful and we are very aware of them. We can measure these costs easily in the present, but it’s very difficult to measure the costs of inaction. They’re undeniably real though, once they have had time to compound. Our life often becomes smaller, with less joy as we start to live with and through other peoples actions, resulting in bitterness and depression as we get older. It’s never to late to take action, it just seems that way to us sometimes. In the Day-to-day, it doesn’t appear to be a problem, but year after year it becomes painfully obvious that, as we look back over our life, we know there were times, when we should have taken more action.