Know How to Cause Things. Take Action.

23 June 2012, by A. Cedilla

Newton’s Third Law states that:

“To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction: or the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions.”

Forgetting that this is only one of a set of physical laws that laid out the foundations for classical mechanics, we generally get this wrong when it comes to people and situations, twisting it around to suit our purpose. “For every action, there is an opposite reaction,” or something close to it.

We interpret it to mean many things:

  • We take it to mean karma: You try anything and you fail, you get what you deserve.

Underneath this is a mind-set of fear. That if you break the unspoken rules whatever they are, in your family, in your office or in your relationships, by going after what you want, you deserve whatever bad thing happens next.

Here’s the thing: good things happen. Bad things happen. Everyday things happen every day. The deciding factor is your perspective. Are the possible bad things bigger than your capacity to overcome them? Are the good things going to stay forever?

  • We take it to mean avoidance: Nothing’s gonna change. Don’t waste your time.

Underneath is the threat to false safety. This is feeling safe with what you know, which is all that you know. You know how to handle it, you know it turns out, so why rock the boat? But if you only stick to ‘what you know’, you’re missing out on expanding your body of experience. You’re staying small by staying still.

  • We take it to mean hardship: The world is a hard place, and to get anywhere you have to be a hard person.

Underneath is self-doubt. What if you don’t measure up? Why the hell confirm what you’re half-afraid would be true anyway? Better not go poking around, who knows what may come out. By doing so, you don’t get to push yourself into finding out what you can do. And you don’t have to be hard, you just have to keep going.

  • We take it to mean opposition: Whatever you set out to do, somehow, somewhere, someone’s gonna go against it.

Everyone has an opinion. Will you let people who are not you decide what you are going to do? Pull a Dr. Seuss. “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

The deciding factor to any change is action.
Even if the change is short-lived. Even if the action wasn’t precisely thought out. Whatever the result, you find out something in fact — not in theory– that you weren’t sure of before.

You have data points, so you can keep refining your action plan. Do this instead of that, drop this, add something else, consider taking this particular course instead of the first one that came to mind when you began writing things down…when you’re in the process you’re making progress , even if you’re still not sure where all of it is going. You’re moving. You’re making things happen.

In taking action, the point is to Assess, Test, Improve and Commit. Outside school, life doesn’t hand you a handbook. You don’t get to read and summarize what you’ve covered before you’re asked to do something. Schools have pop-quizzes, Life-with-a-capital-L has situations. And in many situations, you have to learn on the fly.

The point of structure is to give you a foundation to stand on, be supported by. Education can give you this, but schools can only take you so far. What you do with what you know, what you build with it and on it, is based on the actions you take. You learn by doing, and you make things happen.

“Sir, What is the secret of your success?” a reporter asked a bank president.
“Two words.”
“And, sir, what are they?”
“Good decisions.”
“And how do you make good decisions?”
“One word.”
“And sir, what is that?”
“And how do you get Experience?”
“Two words.”
“And, sir, what are they?”
“Bad decisions.”
– Anon


Bonus link:  20 Life Lessons A Wise Man Would Share

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