Action

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. Eugen Herrigel

Last Update 13 March 2021

Action

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

David Brooks

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.

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

Mihaly Csikszentmihaly

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.

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 key to flow is to pursue an activity for its own sake, not for the rewards it brings. Mihaly Csikszentmihaly

Werner Erhard

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

Eugen Herrigel

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.

Purposeless tension

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

Jim Kwik

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

Jiddu Krishnamurti

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

Elon Musk

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

Pablo Picasso

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

Jean-Paul Sartre

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

Derek Sivers

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

Publilius Syrus

A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Take action

You should hammer your iron when it is glowing hot.

Practice

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

Leo Tolstoy

All really great things are happening
in slow and inconspicuous ways.

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 should be determined not by desire

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

Lao Tzu

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

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