Action Orientation

To Do or Not to Do? Should I? Can I? May I? Could I? To be? or Not to Be? The perpetual question!!!… whose answer keeps changing with the passage of time. “Yes, let me move forward”. “No let it be”. Hip Hop, On Off. Debate and Consternation: never translating into action.

Intellectually we all know smoking is bad. Liquor is harmful to health. Sweets are not good for a diabetic. Regular exercise is beneficial in the long term. Procrastination does not help. But all that knowledge…how often does that translate into action? so what is the gap here? Is this the famous Existentialism Dilemma propounded by Sartre? or is this the philosophy propounded by the Nihilists that life has no intrinsic meaning or value.. so why do anything at all? The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus lists 157 synonyms of “action”; still there are many we have met who shy away from all 157; they are content remaining in suspension, on the horns of the dilemma, never choosing any action & hence similar to mythical Trishanku remain perpetually hanging, between 2 worlds.

Inaction helps none. That is why Benjamin Franklin said, “Well done is better than well said”. There are many who speak well, the spin doctors & artists, but the world respects those who can act & not only talk. Modern management guru Simon Sinek puts it more graphically,” Words may inspire, but only action creates change.” Every new product we see, every new land discovered, every boundary crossed are all evidence that actions speak louder than words, and these actions are actually shaping & creating the world we live in. Merely knowing is never enough. We must act on the knowledge. And this action has the power to change you, change your surroundings & change your world. Inaction then is possibly the biggest mistake you can make.

So why do we not act? Why are we afraid? Do we lack the confidence that we will be able to overcome whatever challenges & difficulties that may come our way? are we so cocooned in our comfort zone that we do not want to see or venture outside? In the comfort zone there are no surprises, no stretch, no new experiences. But correspondingly there is no growth also. All “magic” happens out side the comfort zone. Only when you leave the Comfort Zone behind you, you will go into the Growth Zone.

Prizes are won by people who go onwards, leave the familiar & seek newer pastures. These are the mighty men & women who have done new drug discovery, found new continents, enlarged the frontiers of knowledge, innovated & invented all the products and services we take as normal today. They were able to do this and make the world a better place because they dared & acted on their dreams. Mary Angelou reassures all seekers,” The horizon leans forward, offering you space to place the new steps of change” On your part, you must TAKE ACTION. In the final analysis, the difference between those who dream & those who fulfill their dream is action.

Thomas Jefferson put it so well,” Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask, ACT!!! Action will delineate & define you”. All the leaders we respect, whether it be Martin Luther King, or Nelson Mandela or our own Gandhi; or modern business leaders like Bill Gates or Elon Musk or Azim Premji or Anand Mahindra or Kumarmangalam Birla or Gautam Adani : all have grown from strength to strength as they seized opportunities that came their way & acted with confidence and speed. They were well ahead in the race due to decisive action implemented with alacrity. Look at how Karsanbhai Patel of Nirma gave a run for their money to the well entrenched Unilever and its professional management. Our home grown brands like Oberoi and Taj are ranked with the world’s best hospitality chains because of their constant attention to acting on feedback and continuous improvement initiatives, rigorously implemented. Dare to Dream, the life story of Rai Bahadur MS Oberoi by Bachi Karkaria is a must read for anyone wanting to know the facts behind the rags to riches story. The daring steps & risky decisions that he took laid the foundation of a great business empire & brought up this first generation entrepreneur to the World’s Great list.

Underlining the importance of Action, long ago, another great master Carl Jung said,” You are what you do, not what you say you will do” That quote always reminds me of a school time riddle: there were 7 birds swinging on an electric wire. 4 of them thought they will fly away to a nearby tree. So how many birds are left on the electric wire? The correct answer is 7, as 4 only thought they would fly away. They thought, but did they? or Did not? Thinking is not action. And there if you ask me lies the main issue. We think a lot. But we do precious little. Thinking about a solution and acting on a solution are 2 very different things indeed.

So if we go back to our first question to Be or Not to Be, To Do or Not to Do, my unequivocal answer is Be, Do, Be Bold, Be decisive, Follow the heart and Kiss the World, as Subrato Bagchi says in his life story. The existential dilemma is often a fight between your heart and your head. There are always pros and cons. Somewhere there is always a doubt what would happen. But we must over-leap the doubt and ACT. Think, the future depends on what you do today. Do; don’t prevaricate, debate, or deliberate. The analysis phase should be quickly over & take the leap of faith remembering Martin Luther King’s famous sentence,” You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step” Act and the world will be at your feet. One step at a time!

Remember,” The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it”. These words of Karl Marx are also inscribed upon his grave!!

What more can be said on the power of action? Be a warrior: vikas