Success Lies in Taking Action

Success follows once we take action and screw up now and then, not after we have the perfect plans.Are you going to do something? Or are you doing it?

The difference between success and a good intention lies in what we actually do.

So many times, we plan to do things. We’re going to get out of debt. We’re going to learn about investing. We’re going to start a business.

What really matters

But it doesn’t matter what we’re “going to” do. What matters is what we actually do. It’s all about taking action.

If our plans include reading The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need but we watch old episodes of Dead Like Me on Netflix instead, we’re relaxing, not taking steps toward our goal.

Of course it’s important to relax too — there has to be a balance — but it’s so much easier to tip the scale on the side of inaction without even realizing it. We think about our plans instead of acting regularly on our plans, and that gets us nowhere — even though we may feel like we’re making progress.

Progress is measurable

Progress is measurable though, and actions can be crossed off a list. Telling folks that we’re going to do xyz isn’t usually a step toward success. (It CAN be, but only if it motivates us to live up to those words in a timely manner.)

How many times have you been “going to” do something, and just felt this vague sense of unease instead? That’s your mind realizing that your actions aren’t lining up with your words. Once you do take action — despite your fears and your busy life — you’ll feel a lot better. Often, your only regret will be that you didn’t take action sooner.

Success follows once we take action and screw up now and then, not after we have the perfect plans. So are you “going” to do something? Or are you doing it?


  • I wrote an article recently about how when you first start something, the ‘pain’ is hardest at the start, simply because you’re doing something that you aren’t used to. I discussed this in the context of a run, that I’m often most out of breath in the beginning of the run, not at the end, because my body is first making the adjustment of not being at rest anymore.

  • Huh, interesting. I never knew that about running!

  • jill

    You see this a lot throughout life. Starting new courses in new subjects at college to promising to declutter your life. The first steps arevthe hardest.