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

32 Replies to “Action Orientation”

  1. Boss, always learn new thing from your blog, it is written very well. I really enjoyed it. Thank you.


    1. Milton thanks for your loving comments
      Life taught me many things mainly through the thousands of teachers like you in my life
      these blogs are just an attempt to capture those learnings and reflect them back


  2. Enjoyed reading it. Its true that one has to leave comfort zone to achieve success. “Marathi : Asel Hari tar deil khatlyavari” is what most people think and fail in life due to their inaction.


  3. Hi VS:

    it is the mental interplay of lethargy and motivation that determines our action or inaction.

    When the perceived benefits (or fear) are stronger than lethargy , they shake us out of the lethargy and we act.

    when we desire to act ,but the inherent laziness tends to pull us down, a strong visualisation of the possible benefits can ‘charge up’ us to act. There is a reservoir of energy and passion within each one..the trick is to tap it in the right way.

    as i have said earlier, you have the ability to bring topics out of thin air…topics that are relevant and have practical application. these topics prompt us to think on very useful facets of life

    Thanks a lot for sharing your insightful ideas, as always


    1. JLS
      thanks for your comment
      it took me on to StarWars dimension and I visualized
      The fight between White & Black, Right & Wrong, To Be or Not to Be
      Yes agree we all the reservoir of energy, positivity to take on the Dark Forces and emerge victorious
      the fact that we don’t is a testimony to Prevarication & the innate ennui: the desire to remain where we are, be in the present state, be content in our comfort zone
      this fight is Life and we should never thing we will be out of the conflict between action and inaction

      as re the topics, I still follow what I wrote in my first blog 4 years ago
      the famous advice of Philip Sidney
      “fool, look in thy heart and write”
      {indirectly I accept I am still a fool exploring my world after 4 years & am loving it}

      Thanks for your vaccines of motivation and support


  4. I have taken first step by responding to this, as usual well written blog by Vikas quoting examples of many life gurus. I think one of the soda company also adopted action words “Just Do It”. When it comes to Action, I think there are 3 types of people a) who are able to think right and act immediately b) who take time to think and act and 3) those who don’t act at all thinking time will remove any need for action. We do have lot of people in corporate who fall in the 3rd category. But in Personal life as well as at workplace as Vikas says, those who act progress and not just who profess. Those who don’t act may survive but are not remembered after they play their innings. So friends, start/ continue taking actions on matters that come to you and do not put them under carpet.


    1. Dr Kelkar
      many thanks for your comments
      I love the 3 fold categorization you have proposed of people on the dimensions of thought & action
      Actions will live beyond your innings as their implications will continue into the future
      If we remember this truth we will be better off

      The Just Do It is the slogan of Nike, the sports people
      they have even created the famous “whoosh” symbol to denote speed, direction & action
      we would be good to follow that


  5. Dear Vikas,
    Very well articulated. Inspiring article.
    I remember many who prided on their clean slate, hiding the fact that they never wrote anything !
    Best regards


    1. Jayant
      loved the visual and analogy of the clean slate
      had not thought of it that way
      Indeed their are people unwilling to commit to any course of action
      There used to a famous story of PV Narasimha Rao
      his 40 year old son was asked why he is not married yet
      he said I asked my father PVNR when I was 25 years old whether I should marry
      and I am still waiting for his answer!!


  6. Exceptional write up with simple and flowing language !
    You will recall what Sant Ramdas said,
    “Kelyane hot ahe re,adhi kelechi pahije”.
    We have seen n experienced that grand strategies come to zero when swift and relentless execution is missing.


    1. Suresh many many thanks for your kind words
      Yes indeed Kelyane hot ahe
      Flawless execustion make the strtaegy come alive and one can reap the benefits


  7. Very well said Sir. Action orientation is one of the important managerial competence. I chose to read your blog and acted as well 😃😃


  8. Well written with a clear message: Just do it! (As some ad proclaimed)
    Whether it is hesitation, self doubt or plain procrastination, overcoming the inertia to act and take the first steps is what differentiates the thinkers from the doers


    1. KD the whoosh symbol of Nike is known for both action and speed
      yes we must guard against the natural tendency to remain in the comfort zone
      only one who strides ahead will win


  9. Superbly written, covering both parts of inaction, namely indecisiveness, which is about not being able to choose a path and second, inaction – which is about knowing what to do but not doing it anyway!! 😳😳😊😊

    A guru I know once said – To know and not yet to do, is not yet to know.

    So profound.


    1. Ravi
      thanks for writing in
      comments are blood & oxygen to any blogger as you know

      To know and not yet to do….deep insight indeed

      I did consider karma and akarma per Indian Philosophy but thought it will make it longer and heavier and dropped that
      But indeed that and knowing/not knowing are so deeply intertwined in this action process that it really makes you think that it is a miracle we actually get anything done at all

      Had read Life is a comedy for those who think
      and a tragedy for those who feel

      I laugh and cry

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Dear Vikas,

    A really thought provoking piece of writing.,. Though known to all, you have reemphasised with appropriate quotes from great philosophers and leaders , with the contemporary examples , that has strengthened the subject under discussion.


    1. Sanjay bhau
      yes great men’s quotes show us we are not alone
      and we are thinking in line with some real icons
      even when you all write in
      I feel reassured and happy that I am on the right track
      thanks once again


  11. Very Nice Brain Khana Khajana after long time. Vikas thank you so much,take care all


  12. Dear Vikas
    Another brilliant piece of writing…
    Yes u hv hit nail right on spot ..our indecisiveness leads to our failure …we fail to act when we should ,as we just keep thinking kya hoga ..what will other side think….we question ourselves so much that we get into procrastination mode….there is no doubt one must analyse to take decision…but one must act at the end…
    U have given excellent example… specially what we see today about Gautam Adani … His action speaks more than he talks …

    Keep inspiring us with ur blogs



    1. HG many thanks my friend
      I really feel sad too often we think think and think and get paralyzed
      only much later there are the if only i had,…. regrets
      all successful people also had doubts
      but they took the plunge and went FW
      i hope more people do that


  13. Hi VSS, very well written practical blog. The snippet of apt quotes has enriched the blog. Such procrastination is a big problem in personal life as well as corporate life. Thanks for highlighting the challenge


    1. Thanks MMP
      really appreciate your feedback
      after deciding on the theme I spend lot of time searching and selecting the pics
      and as I write many quotes come from memory
      but I always recheck the exact wording and the author
      hence your appreciation means a lot
      god bless


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