Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force. Lao Tzu
- David Brooks: follow your curiosity
- Mihaly Csikszentmihaly: act freely
- Werner Erhard: being and action
- Eugen Herrigel: self-detaching immersion
- Jim Kwik: knowledge × action
- Jiddu Krishnamurti: silence of the mind
- Elon Musk: figure out the question
- Pablo Picasso: action is the key
- Jean-Paul Sartre: commitment is an act
- Derek Sivers: use the future
- Publilius Syrus: take action
- Leo Tolstoy: create the future
- Lao Tzu: Act without expectation.
- Action FAQ
- Reference and Resources
If it feels all right for you, it's probably OK.
Follow your natural curiosity
Follow your natural curiosity and sidestep distraction. Take action on what interests you, and your natural concentration will follow.
We want to be involved in some important pursuit
What most people seek in life, especially when young, is not happiness but an intensity that reaches into the core. We want to be involved in some important pursuit that involves hardship and is worthy of that hardship.
Top performers spend more hours (many more hours) rigorously practicing their craft
The key factor separating geniuses from the merely accomplished is not a divine spark. It's not I.Q., a generally bad predictor of success, even in realms like chess. Instead, it's deliberate practice. Top performers spend more hours (many more hours) rigorously practicing their craft.
Flourishing consists of putting yourself in situations in which you lose self-consciousness
I've come to think that flourishing consists of putting yourself in situations in which you lose self-consciousness and become fused with other people, experiences, or tasks.
Instead of pursuing many-sided mediocrity and calling it well-roundedness, a definite person determines the one best thing to do and then does it. Peter Thiel
It is impossible to enjoy a tennis game, a book, or a conversation unless attention is fully concentrated on the activity.
He who desires but acts not breeds pestilence
Few things are sadder than encountering a person who knows exactly what he should do, yet cannot muster enough energy to do it. He who desires but acts not," wrote Blake with his accustomed vigor, Breeds pestilence.
Competition is enjoyable only when it is a means to perfect one’s skills
Competition is enjoyable only when it is a means to perfect one’s skills; when it becomes an end in itself, it ceases to be fun.
The important thing is to enjoy the activity for its own sake
Any specialization or expertise that one finds enjoyable and where one can improve one’s knowledge over time. The important thing, however, is the attitude toward these disciplines. If one prays in order to be holy, or exercises to develop strong pectoral muscles, or learns to be knowledgeable, then a great deal of the benefit is lost. The important thing is to enjoy the activity for its own sake, and to know that what matters is not the result, but the control one is acquiring over one’s attention.
It is when we act freely
It is when we act freely, for the sake of the action itself rather than for ulterior motives, that we learn to become more than what we were.
Much of life is about failure, whether we acknowledge it or not, and your destiny is profoundly shaped by how effectively you learn from and adapt to failure. David Brooks
Whatever you are pushing against, you are stuck to.
Your power is a function of the rate at which you translate intention into reality
Your power is a function of velocity, that is to say, your power is a function of the rate at which you translate intention into reality. Most of us disempower ourselves by finding a way to slow, impede, or make more complex than necessary the process of translating intention into reality.
What gives people superiority at a task is true intention
What gives people superiority at a task is true intention. That makes you attuned to everything.
All accomplishment is constituted by a series of resolved breakdowns
Consider that all accomplishment is constituted by a series of resolved breakdowns.
Opportunity: it's not really scarce
Opportunity: it's not really scarce. It's everywhere. If you really were any good, you'd be overwhelmed by it.
Being and action are distinct yet inseparable
Just like the front and the back of the hand, being and action are distinct yet inseparable.
Success is never accidental. Werner Erhard
You must act as if the goal were infinitely far off.
The right art, cried the Master, is purposeless, aimless!
The more obstinately you try to learn how to shoot the arrow for the sake of hitting the goal, the less you will succeed in the one and the further the other will recede.
What stands in your way is that you have a much too willful will. You think that what you do not do yourself does not happen.
Don't think of what you have to do, don't consider how to carry it out!
Don't think of what you have to do, don't consider how to carry it out!" he exclaimed. "The shot will only go smoothly when it takes the archer himself by surprise.
Practice self-detaching immersion
We should not practice anything except self-detaching immersion.
By letting go of yourself, leaving yourself and everything yours behind so decisively that nothing more is left of you but a purposeless tension.
This, then, is what counts
This, then, is what counts: a lightning reaction which has no further need of conscious observation. In this respect at least the pupil makes himself independent of all conscious purpose.
You worry yourself unnecessarily. Put the thought of hitting right out of your mind! Eugen Herrigel
The treasure you seek is in the work you're avoiding.
Purpose, identity, and values
Reasons that are tied to your purpose, identity, and values will sufficiently motivate you to act, even in the face of all of the daily obstacles that life puts in your way.
Motivation is a set of emotions
Motivation is a set of emotions (painful and pleasurable) that act as the fuel for our actions.
Motivation comes from purpose, fully feeling and associating with the consequences of our actions (or inactions).
Turn knowledge into power
Notice the difference it makes when you turn knowledge into power.
Genius is made through deep practice
Genius is not born; it’s made through deep practice.
Knowledge × Action = Power
If you’re struggling to find motivation to learn, or to accomplish anything else in your life, there is a good chance you haven’t uncovered the why of the task.
Perfectionism reduces creativity and innovation. — Jim Kwik
If we can really understand the problem, the answer will come out of it, because the answer is not separate from the problem.
When there is this silence of the mind action springs from it, and this action does not cause confusion or misery
There is the silence of the mind which is never touched by any noise, by any thought or by the passing wind of experience. It is this silence that is innocent, and so endless.
When there is this silence of the mind action springs from it, and this action does not cause confusion or misery.
When the joy is there, the technique can be built up from nothing
You cannot reconcile creativeness with technical achievement. You may be perfect in playing the piano, and not be creative. You may be able to handle color, to put paint on canvas most cleverly, and not be a creative painter...having lost the song, we pursue the singer. We learn from the singer the technique of song, but there is no song; and I say the song is essential, the joy of singing is essential.
When the joy is there, the technique can be built up from nothing; you will invent your own technique, you won't have to study elocution or style. When you have, you see, and the very seeing of beauty is an art.
You can only be afraid of what you think you know. Jiddu Krishnamurti
If you need inspiration, don't do it.
No, I don't ever give up
No, I don't ever give up. I'd have to be dead or completely incapacitated.
One of the really tough things is figuring out what questions to ask
One of the really tough things is figuring out what questions to ask. Once you figure out the question, then the answer is relatively easy
Try even if the probable outcome is failure
If something is important enough, you should try even if the probable outcome is failure.
I don't create companies for the sake of creating companies, but to get things done. Elon Musk
Action is the foundational key to all success.
What one does is what counts
What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing.
You have to have an idea of what you are going to do
You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea. I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else.
Go and do the things you can't
Go and do the things you can't. That is how you get to do them.
My hand tells me what I’m thinking. Pablo Picasso
An individual chooses and makes himself.
Man is nothing else than his plan
There is no reality except in action. Man is nothing else than his plan; he exists only to the extent that he fulfills himself; he is therefore nothing else than the ensemble of his acts, nothing else than his life.
We are our choices
I can always choose, but I ought to know that if I do not choose, I am still choosing.
Commitment is an act, not a word
Man is fully responsible for his nature, choices and lifestyle. Not only is man what he conceives himself to be, but he is also only what he wills himself to be after this thrust toward existence. Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself.
Better to die on one's feet than to live on one's knees. Jean-Paul Sartre
Think long term. Use the future.
Starting small puts 100% of your energy into solving real problems for real people
If you want to be useful, you can always start now. It will be a humble prototype of your grand vision, but you’ll be in the game. Start by teaching someone this week. Starting small puts 100% of your energy into solving real problems for real people.
Whatever excites you, go do it. Whatever drains you, stop doing it.
Just pay close attention to what excites you and what drains you. Pay close attention to when you're being the real you and when you're trying to impress an invisible jury.
Suppress desire for things which are not in your own control
But, for the present, totally suppress desire: for, if you desire any of the things which are not in your own control, you must necessarily be disappointed; and of those which are, and which it would be laudable to desire, nothing is yet in your possession.
Use only the appropriate actions of pursuit and avoidance; and even these lightly, and with gentleness and reservation.
The standard pace is for chumps
The system is designed so anyone can keep up. If you’re more driven than ‘just anyone’ — you can do so much more than anyone expects. And this applies to ALL of life — not just school.
Learning without doing is wasted
If I don’t use what I learn, then it was pointless! How horrible to waste those hundreds of hours I spent learning, and not turn it into action.
Everyone who became great at something has a similar story
For years, they worked on their craft every day, even if they weren’t in the mood. Always pushing, practicing, working, and improvingYes it takes thousands of hours of practice, but that’s good news! It’s a clear path and it’s under your control.
A great goal makes you take action immediately
A bad goal makes you say, “I want to do that some day.” A great goal makes you take action immediately.
Busy is what happens when you’re at the mercy of someone else’s schedule. Derek Sivers
A rolling stone gathers no moss.
You should hammer your iron when it is glowing hot.
Practice is the best of all instructors.
On the art of focus
To do two things at once is to do neither.
On achieving excellence
It takes a long time to bring excellence to maturity.
On people pleasing
Seek to please many, and you seek a failure.
The sweetest pleasure arises from difficulties overcome. Publilius Syrus
All really great things are happening in slow and inconspicuous ways.
Serve the force that sent you into the world
You have to embrace what the wisdom of humanity, your intellect, and your heart tell you: that the meaning of life is to serve the force that sent you into the world. Then life becomes a constant joy.
Anyone who is engaged in really important things is very simple
Anyone who is engaged in really important things is very simple because he does not have time to create unnecessary things.
Your actions should be determined by the needs of all mankind
Your actions should be determined not by the desire of the people around you, but by the needs of all mankind.
The consequences of your actions
If you can see all of the consequences of your actions, then your actions are of no use.
If you feel that you are not free, look for the reason inside you. Leo Tolstoy
Act without expectation.
Do everything through being
Do nothing through acting. Do everything through being.
You are your life, and nothing else
You are -- your life, and nothing else.
Accomplish without grabbing, accomplish without forcing
Accomplish but do not boast, accomplish without show, accomplish without arrogance, accomplish without grabbing, accomplish without forcing.
You may end up where you are heading
If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.
Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.
Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.
The way is to be
The way to do is to be.
Force is not the way at all
Let life ripen and then fall, force is not the way at all.
By letting go ...
By letting go it all gets done.
Nature does not hurry
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force. Lao Tzu
Do less and removing unnecessary things from our lives.
What should i take action on?
Trust your instincts. Do what feels right for you, rather than being overly influenced by external pressures or expectations.
How do I nurture my natural curiosity?
Follow your natural curiosity by taking action on what interests you. Sidestep distractions, and allowing their natural concentration to guide you
What separates geniuses from the merely accomplished?
The key factor between geniuses from the merely accomplished is deliberate practice. Geniuses spend many more hours rigorously practicing their craft compared to those who are simply accomplished.
What does it mean to flourish?
We flourish when we flow for the sake of the action. To flow for the sake of the action we can put ourselves in situations where you lose self-consciousness and become fused with other people, experiences, or tasks.
Is competition important for skill development?
When competition is a means to perfect one's skills it is useful. When competition becomes an end in itself, it ceases to be enjoyable or beneficial.
How can I learn from and adapt to failure?
Much of life is about failure. Your destiny is shaped by how effectively you learn from and adapt to failure.
How can I practice self-detaching immersion?
Practice self-detaching immersion by letting go of yourself and your attachments. Practice self-detaching immersion by focusing on the activity at hand with a purposeless tension that allows you to be fully present in the moment.
What is the relationship between knowledge and power?
When you turn knowledge into action you unlock its potential and transform it into power that can be used to achieve your goals. You can turn knowledge into power by applying what you’ve learned with deliberate action.
How can I overcome perfectionism?
To overcome perfectionism, focus on progress, creativity, and innovation. Recognise that that perfectionism hinders growth and limits your potential.
How can I embrace long-term thinking?
You can embrace long-term thinking by envisioning an exciting future outcome by keeping your focus and attention on the the actions in front of you. Maintain focus on what truly matters.
How do focus on what truly matters?
Focus on what truly matters and eliminate distractions.
How can I achieve more productivity by doing less?
Ditch the to-do list in favour of focusing on the top 3-4 most important tasks. This prioritises your time and energy.
How can I improve productivity?
Establish a morning routine, automated repetitive tasks and a reduction in unnecessary screen time. Planning your day the night before sets your intentions for the day. This helps you stay focused and organised. Knowing the day can prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and operating in reactionary mode.
References and Resources
Impossible is for the unwilling. John Keats
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow the Secret to Happiness
- Critical thinker Werner Erhard
- J. Krishnamurti - Official Homepage
- The Shadow Side of Krishnamurti
- Jim Kwik is a renowned brain coach
- Pablo Picasso - Wikipedia
- Laozi - Wikipedia
- Derek Sivers | TED Talks
- Derek Sivers - Website
- Derek Sivers - Wikipedia
- Leo Tolstoy | Russian writer
- Leo Tolstoy - Wikipedia
- Lao-Tzu - Ancient History Encyclopedia
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