Five Powerful Reasons to Take Action Today

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.”
George Bernard Shaw

One of the biggest mistakes I believe people make when trying to improve their lives is one of the simplest. They just don't take action based what they learn from blogs or books.

And that's no good at all.

If you aren't already taking action and doing so consistently you really need to start now. Here are five powerful reasons why.

1. No one is coming.

This may sound a bit harsh. But the sooner you realize that no one else will do this for you the quicker you will improve your life.

Personal responsibility is essential to improve and control your own life. Without that what you want will stay a dream or a sporadic activity/dabbling that leads to pretty much nothing in the long term.

You can blame your problems and lack of success on anyone you like and waste your time and energy. You can get help from family, friends, books or blogs. But your life is your responsibility and it's up to you to create in the way you choose to.

2. Apply the knowledge or it is pretty worthless a lot of the time.

Yeah, reading this blog, other blogs or books can make you feel good. You are learning about all of this awesome and useful information so it kinda feels like you are making progress and improving your life.

Now, reading positive and helpful material can help motivate you in a world where you may be surrounded by more negative inputs like the news or people around you. Nothing wrong with that. I personally find it to be a good habit to spend a bit of time with a good personal development book rather than an extra half hour a day watching the news.

But I believe that many people fool themselves into thinking that reading in some way will replace action. That reading will take care of your problems in some magical way. I used to think so. It´s at the same time a pleasurable and frustrating headspace to be in. You tend to read a lot and think that the next thing will be the magic pill that will finally solve your problem.

3. You understand by doing.

There are no real magic pills of course. That idea is created by immaturity in person who still thinks to him/herself: “Mommy, it want it now!”.

When you read a lot you think that you understand things. But you never really understand anything until your experience it. Yes, knowledge can help you to avoid pitfalls and improve quicker. But it can't relate how it feels to experience something. And it can't relate how you experience something since we are all a bit different from each other.

When you start doing things you might also discover that things are often a bit more messy in real life than in books where it may seem like you only have to follow a clean ten step method to get the results you want. But that's part of the fun of living life rather than just thinking and reading about it.

4. You raise your self-esteem.

One of the hardest things to do in life is to do the right thing. What you think is the right thing. Not what you friends, family, teachers, boss and society thinks is the right thing.

What is the right thing? That's up to you to decide. Often you have a little voice in your head that tells what the right thing is. Or a gut feeling.

It might tell you to get up from the couch, stop eating those snacks and go to the gym instead. Sometimes you will put your exercise clothes on and go. Sometimes you will not.

Creating a habit where you take action every day and do the right thing is not just important to get the results you want. To me it's very important to raise self-esteem and keep it up.

If I do the right things today I feel really good about myself. If I don't then I don't feel good about myself.

A common question that I get is: “How can I raise my self-esteem?”. The answer is not an easy answer of course (otherwise people wouldn't have so much self-esteem problems in the world today). I believe that taking action and doing the right thing consistently  (your self-esteem not something you can just “fix” by doing one thing one time) is a big part of the answer. Because when you do the right and (often) hard thing instead of being lazy or wuzzing out your esteem of yourself goes up.

5. Time will pass no matter what you do.

“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
Karen Lamb.

Your life is not endless. Your time is one the most important things in your life. Don't waste a huge chunk of it. Start taking action towards what you really want out of life today.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehack, The Huffington Post and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Emily

    Hi Henrik!

    and once more – thanks for this great post! yes, you are 200% right-we all do know how to improve ourselves but we dont turn it into practice.. its like so many women say over and over “oh, i am so fat! i know i must exercise/eat less ” —but no action afterwards!

    sometimes we just need somd/smth (like what youve posted today) to open our eyes or just kick in the ass!

    Thanks a lot! i wish you more and more new ideas for your new wonderful inspiring posts!!!!


  • I like “You understand by doing”. It’s very true. You learn from experience. You also learn by teaching others. In fact, you teach what you most want to learn.

    It’s not always true that you raise your self-esteem by doing, though. When you’re taking action on something that you have avoided for so long, then there’s often a lot of awkwardness. It’s like being a child again, and so there’s a chance to make a fool of yourself.

    What’s needed is the perception that making a fool out of yourself is so wonderful – if you let others know you’re trying something new and are in a supportive environment. (I wouldn’t recommend it in a cutthroat atmosphere). It truly helps you grow, and then eventually you laugh and immediately do better the next time.

    So much of spirituality and personal growth I learned in learning to clown. It helped me in the business world. I wrote about this in “We need clowns in spirituality

    • I agree, there is often awkwardness when doing the thing you avoided or fear. But when you are done you feel great that you actually stepped up and did it. You feel good about yourself and your esteem of yourself goes up.

      Just like when you workout you might not feel great while doing it but when you are done you feel good about yourself.

  • Superb advice here! I’ve been thinking a lot about action lately (unfortunately doing more thinking than actually doing) and this post has certainly motivated me to get to work. There are no guarantees in life. All we know is that we have right now and we need to embrace the moment and take action. Thanks for sharing your inspiration!

  • Thank you for this post.
    There are lots of to-do list and if one does not do them, it will overload forces one to rush through the important task, leaving room for errors. I do that sometimes. This post reminds me to take action, today!

  • Thanks for all the comments guys, glad you found the article motivating!

  • In some ways, it’s hard to do something that will improve your life – like going to the gym, throwing out that box of cookies, or reading a book instead of watching TV. I’ve found that when I need to make a change, I’ll sometimes start with a time requirement. Let’s say it’s the gym. I’ll commit to going for only half an hour. No much time, but it’s an action and the beginning of a habit. Then I’ll add on ten minutes a few times. Now I’m up to an hour and fifteen minutes which was my goal.

    I guess my point is that we don’t have to take big actions all at once, but small actions over time add up to big changes.

    Thanks for the post; once again, I really enjoyed it.

    • Thanks for your kind words! That is a great tip, I use that sometimes too to just get started with something. I think some people call it Timeboxing. And I totally agree, small action over time really can add up to big changes.

  • It is hard to take action on the stuff you read because it’s so easy just to read how to do it instead of experience it. I do read quite a bit in my free time, but it never comes first. I admit that I spend a lot of time reading. No doubt though it has changed the way I live my life. All the extra knowledge has made me a smarter person(and it beats TV). However lately I’ve felt the lack of sleep from sacrificing late nights reading instead of sleeping. Glad you brought this up in your blog, it’s like it was just meant to be here because of the way things have been going lately. I learn a lot and love it but my worst problem is not FULLY applying everything I learn.

    Once again, your blog is priceless!:) Hope to connect with you on Twitter! I’m passing this post around:)


    Twitter: @ClintonSkakun

    • Thanks for your kind words and for sharing. Applying is always the hardest part, but little by little you can incorporate more and more of what you learn consistently into your life. You just have keep doing it. And not get you and your focus lost in reading too much.

      I also have added you on Twitter now.

  • Scott

    There’s a saying that goes “knowledge is power” but I think that saying could be extend to say “knowledge is power, applying that knowledge is true power”.:)

  • Tony

    Cool thoughts, well written, Thanks!

  • well said Henrik
    thank u for sharing the importance of ACTIONS and RESPONSILBITY

  • Hi Henrik,

    Knowledge is useless unless we apply it. This is such an important point that most people forget about it. We can read and learn all we can from books and seminars but in the end, it is the people who took the action to apply what they learn that will make a difference.


  • Anonymous

    This is So true!!! Often, I find myself reading articles about Motivation which does make me feel that I’m progressing in life. However, I realize I’m not transforming those positive thoughts into actions. I liked the first point especially, No one will come to bail you out. so, what are you waiting for. So true! Once again, good job and keep writing Awesome stuff like this. I feel so connected to your articles. It’s hard to find something else that is so closely related to my life. Thank you :D

  • Awesome post! So many people procrastinate by reading, learning or talking instead of doing. It feels productive even though it’s not.