Archie, a nine-month-old Yorkshire Terrier pup, was barking incessantly at the gateway to the next field (where there are rabbits!). His brother (from a different mother) Bertie, a savvy six-year-old blue-eyed Merle Collie ran up to see what the commotion is about. A large black plastic wrap (used to make silage) had landed in the middle of the gateway, blocking Archie’s way into the land of rabbits. Bertie looked at Archie nonchalantly thinking, “Is that it? Why are you barking?” With that, he gripped the plastic with his teeth and dragged it away to allow passage. Archie stopped barking immediately and ran through. Bertie took action where Archie only made noise.
How often do you see N.A.T.O. (No Action Talk Only) taking place? It could be that loud relative who is always complaining about something but his life is in shambles. Maybe you have a work colleague who is full of ideas with no implementation who sounds good but produces no results. What about the friend who often says, “I thought of that idea ages ago. He(or She) stole my idea!” whenever great goods or services hit the marketplace. Have you seen such individuals? Can you relate? Maybe it is you? You have great ideas but it never leads to fruition.
It is true that all deeds follow thoughts or that the ancestor of every action is a thought. Thinking is hard which is why so few people do it (credit Thomas Edison). However, as difficult thinking may be, so is taking action, especially taking the RIGHT actions. When thoughts become ideas and they are verbalized, how often do you follow through to bring that idea to reality? How often do you give life to something imaginary and let it breathe?
Talk is indeed cheap. Empty vessels make the most noise. When you hear or know of someone who has plenty of ideas and is in every conversation giving his or her opinion on almost every topic under the sun, instead of being in awe of their great ideas, take a step back and look at their actions, their achievements, and their results. Are they walking the talk or just making a lot of noise?
In the midst of social media, everyone now has a loud hailer to make a public announcement whenever they feel like it. There are so many opinions and ideas on how to solve a problem and change the world but how many actually do what they say and live what they preach? Some may use to say that the lack of change is due to no ideas or the inability to share with others good ideas. They may think, “If only everyone knew this, things would be different.” Well, now the platform is present. With the Internet, even the village idiot has gone global. However, the problems are still present with little signs of going away.
Power is defined as the ‘ability to do’, the keyword being ‘do’, not talk). Knowledge is not power. Applied knowledge is power. An action or some sort of action must be taken before any result can be seen. Talking about it without action or without behaviour change does not create results. It is much easier to waggle your tongue than to take action.
Usually, those who talk the loudest with verbal diarrhoea are looking for validation and to feel significant. They may not even be interested in solving the problem or changing anything. They speak because they want to be heard. Those that truly want to solve problems and make changes are usually listening quietly, contemplating the best action to take and take action. They are seldom the ones who preach the loudest. They just simply allow their actions to speak for themselves. They let their results shout so clearly noiselessly that it is impossible not to see and hear them. It is because when you actually solve a problem, the solution will be so obvious that it cannot be denied.
There are usually several factors that hold people back from taking action. A common one is fear. They may think, “What if I got it wrong? There is a difference between getting an idea wrong and getting an action wrong? I’ll be wasting time and energy. Let someone do it and I can watch the results. Why should I be the one to take the fall?” This group of people may have forgotten that the opposite of success is not failure but not trying. By not trying in fear of failure, they think they can avoid failure when in actual fact, they have already failed by default. They will not get or understand the feeling and the learning you experience when you take action, regardless of the results are successful or not. If they are, great. If they are not, they will miss out on pivoting and trying something different until you get the desired result.
Another common factor that holds people back from taking action is that they may not even want the successful outcome anyway. It was just a great idea to talk about but they have no intention of realising it anyway. They just like to contribute and give their opinion whether it is viable or not. One danger about having so many opinions or being very opinionated is that you create a lot of blind spots and may hinder your learning. When faced with a new situation, the moment you develop an opinion, your mind mentally shut off to incoming information and you stop learning. Any thoughts that develop may just be created to defend your opinion. To truly learn, you need to start by having no opinions, arriving with an empty cup (a cup is only useful when it is empty!). Only after you have gathered all your facts, then you make an informed decision. For those not interested in the solution anyway, they will not empty their cup and only push their agenda forward.
So, Archie barked and Bertie took action. It is clear which dog got the results. Are you someone who talks or takes action?
‘An inch of movement will take you closer to your goals than a mile of intention.’ – Steve Maraboli