The 3 lies we tell to stop ourselves from taking action


Let’s just put this out there — taking action can be really scary. There’s always the possibility of failure, and it’s hard to break out of the normal routine, and besides, who really has the time to start a new project? So we sort of hem and haw, and end up convincing ourselves that, actually, now is not the best time to act. We should definitely wait.

For instance, you might find yourself saying…

“I need more information.”

It’s always tempting to put something off until you read just one more book about it, or you attend just one more training course … and then another, and then another. It’s natural to want to know as much as you can about something before you start, and there’s no benefit to going into something blind, but you’ll learn much, much more from actually doing something than you will from learning about it from other people.

“I’ll do it tomorrow.”

There will never be a perfect time to start anything. Tomorrow, next week, or even next year will always seem like a more appealing time to start, but the truth is, now is the best time to start. If you’re too scared to make a huge start on something now, then chunk it down into small steps, and do the first of those. It doesn’t matter how small, the important thing is that you start doing something, because then you’ll be able to build up momentum that will carry you through the big tasks.

“It wouldn’t make a difference anyway”

This one tends to come up when you have failed at something in the past or haven’t followed through and have gotten yourself into a guilt spiral. For instance, if you’ve always wanted to lose weight, but you’ve failed many times before, then of course you may feel like there’s no point in trying this time around.

Or it could be that you’ve actually studied the thing you want to do so much that you’ve intimidated yourself into not acting, like if you wanted to start a business and have read so many business books that you feel you’ll fail, and so give up before you start.

Either way, remember this: every time you do something, it’s a new chance. Whatever has happened in the past is a great lesson to learn from, but you shouldn’t let it hold you back.

Believe me, I understand the temptation.

It’s always tempting to put things off, but it’s also the first habit you need to break if you want to stop talking about doing amazing things and actually start doing them. Action is essential — it’s how you learn what works and what doesn’t, it’s how you get over your psychological barriers, and it’s how you make progress with any project.

Now you tell me: what have you been putting off that you’re now going to take action on?