“The most powerful way to shape our lives is to get ourselves to take action,” says self-help guru Anthony Robbins.
I like Tony and admire his work; as far as motivational teachers go, few can stoke my inner fire for motivation, and get me going and taking actions quite like him. But whilst I appreciate the power of taking actions to move towards what we want in life, I disagree that it is the most powerful way to shape our lives.
There’s a whole lot more involved that needs to be taken into consideration than just making yourself take actions. Yes, taking action is important but his statement requires some caveats.
In reality creation, the physical cause-and-effect level is not the be-all-and-end-all. There is a whole other realm that shapes our lives: the invisible realm of our spirit, thoughts and emotions. Only focusing on taking action and ignoring the other realms at work can cause an imbalance that can spiral you into obsessive, addictive behaviours. It can even derail you from your goal.
The Importance of Aligned Actions
Physical actions that are aligned with your thoughts, feelings and attitude have the most power. That means the action is an extension, or an expression, of how you are feeling and the thoughts you already have inside you.
If your action conflicts with your feelings and attitude, that action has little or no power. It can even have the opposite effect of what you’re intending to achieve. Let’s say you take the action of going to social events more to make friends. Despite succeeding in going to these events, you really don’t feel comfortable and find yourself resenting the people there. Suppose you start drinking a bit too much to cope with these feelings, and you end up saying something offensive to a few people… resulting in you isolating people rather than making friends.
Now that doesn’t mean that you should give up, go home and spend the rest of your night beating yourself up. The action you took can inform you and realign you with actions that do work – so you can change your course of action, and as a result you may find yourself enjoying your activity more and you make some nice friends. This action ‘works’ because your feelings and attitude are aligned with it.
The Power of Inspired Actions
Actions that are motivated by fear often yield unsatisfying and even disastrous results. They are what you deem to be the things that you must do or should do or are expected to do. You may call them inappropriate actions and they can lead you up the wrong path since they often move in the opposite direction of where your soul wants you to go.
In the example above, if you’re forcing yourself to go to these social events out of fear and not because your heart is in it, then the action is not aligned emotionally, mentally or spiritually within you. Thus, it will likely yield adverse effects.
On the other hand, if you’re taking actions that you’re simply inspired to take, for no reason other than you have a strong desire to do it and it makes you feel excited thinking about doing it, then the results will likely be a positive one.
How do you know whether your action comes from fear or is inspired? Fear-driven actions feel contractive and shallow while inspired actions feel open, clear and expansive.
So, does it mean you have to sit around and wait for inspiration to come before you can act?
No. Since you are more than just a physical being, you can exercise your creative powers in the invisible realm and bring the various elements into alignment – thus, making your action an aligned one. Similarly, you can make internal shifts or tweak the action so that it feels inspiring to you.
Here are some specific things you can do:
#1 Bring both feet in – a matter of decision
One of the most common blocks to achieving a goal is having one foot in and one foot out, instead of planting both of our feet in squarely and firmly in what we say we want to achieve. We tend to leave some room just in case we find we’re not quite ready to commit to that thing we say we want.
Decide to have both your feet in. Decide that you want to have this, that this is the reality you want to see in your life. Very often, people cite being unsure if this is the direction they really want to go as the reason for keeping one foot out. But there is power in your decision (read The Power Of Saying “I Have Decided!”). Sometimes, instead of waiting for certainty to arrive we can take the empowered step to bridge that gap and get there without waiting for “there” to come to us.
This cannot, however, be done through fear or desperation, but rather through a process of reconciliation within yourself, the gentle letting go of something you held on to. It must be pure and of the heart, not forced or faked. It cannot be just a head concept (as in deciding in your head) but must involve your emotional and spiritual bodies, the healing that needs to occur, before you can get to the point of deciding.
It may be that on your way to deciding, you tap into some unfinished business and you need to heal and forgive someone or yourself for something. It’s a process that can take a few seconds or a few days.
#2 Invest your heart, mind and soul
… into what you say you want. Sometimes, we don’t realise that we’re only paying lip service when going after a goal, wish or desire. By inquiring honestly how sincere you are being about this goal, wish or desire, you can begin to either question how important it is for you or invest more of yourself into it.
As an example, if a client contacts you for your services, you could connect with the soul of the client and give an affirmative to the Universe that you do want to work with this client. This helps you to move in closer to being in the space of you providing your best service to this person. Your sincerity in it, and your commitment to giving your best, takes you closer to the ‘arrival’ of this goal.
Sometimes, this process can bring up deeper truths from within you. It may be that no matter how much you want to invest your whole self into the action, you find that it just doesn’t want to happen that way. This then prompts you to examine if the goal you say you want to achieve is really what you deeply want.
#3 Ensure it is exquisitely aligned
Physical action is just one level of causation to your reality. You may be taking action physically but if emotionally, mentally and spiritually you’re not aligning with that action, it has little power.
For example, you may be taking actions to promote your services but putting a spiritual veil over your promotional material to hide behind. You may be feeling bad, for whatever reason, about what you’re doing and you don’t really believe your efforts will yield results. Such an action is not aligned spiritually, emotionally or mentally.
Often, it is not the physical action that creates a certain reality as such, the action simply reflects and demonstrates a movement in your emotions, mind and spirit. Therefore, to ensure that the action you’re taking is aligned on all levels, consider how you are holding yourself across these levels:
Mentally: Are you holding a positive belief about taking this action and around this action?
Emotionally: Do you feel uplifted, excited and inspired by the idea of taking this action?
Spiritually: Can you sense the movement of energies in an expansive way when you think about taking this action?
Physically: Is your posture confident and upright, your face smiling, to reflect moving in a positive direction?
#4 Raise the vibrational energies behind the action
Even though we believe that certain actions are going to yield predictable outcomes, those outcomes are influenced by the energy, vibration and attitude when taking action. Consider these actions:
Eating crappy food. It is not so much the crappiness of the food that makes you feel not so good in your body but the self-beating that follows after eating it. The self-abusive thoughts you direct towards yourself contribute to the toxicity of it all, resulting in you feeling physically unwell.
Using drugs. I believe that the worst thing about using drugs is the mental torment that accompanies it rather than the physiological effects of the drugs on your body. The obsessive thoughts, guilt and worries that follow a drug use can make you feel many times worse than the withdrawal effects when the drug wears off.
Knowing this, you can raise the vibrational energies behind your action to encourage it to move in a positive direction, and hence, resulting in a positive outcome. It means that within that action, you have the power to direct the expression of it to either a positive or so-so outcome.
Let’s say you’re washing your car. You might say, when you wash your car, the result is a clean car. It is predictable. However, depending on what your attitude is when washing your car, the energy you infuse into the act of washing your car, and how clear your mind is during the act, a number of outcomes are possible:
Your car is spotlessly clean and you’re happy.
Your car is spotlessly clean and you’re pissed off.
Your car is still dirty and you’re pissed off.
Your car is still dirty and you’re happy.
You scratched your car and you’re upset.
You scratched your car and you feel free.
If you want your car to be spotlessly clean and you happy, then ensure that you hold an attitude of enjoyment and appreciation while washing your car, being mindful during the act, and devoting yourself to the task with love. Not only would it ensure that you manage to clean every surface of dirt, your good feelings will expand.
#5 Recognise the true source of power
If you take a generally assumed cause-and-effect and examine it closer, you would find that it is not just the action itself that makes it happen but the internal changes in the doer. For example, you’ve decided to apologise to someone in your life. Now, if taking action is all it takes to make it effective, you might go through the motion mindlessly, meaninglessly, without engaging your emotions or putting any good energy into it.
So you say sorry to this person, but there is no change in you, no deeper understanding gained about human relations, about life, and therefore no growth taking place inside of you. Guess what kind of outcome this action would likely to have? Just saying the words “I’m sorry” won’t do much, it’s the shift you make internally that determines if you are really sorry and the result it will have in your external world.
Another example is when we exercise our bodies. I believe that our physical goals for exercising can be achieved many times faster if we engaged our mind, emotions and spirit concurrently. Suppose you are recovering from an illness and you want to get fit and healthy again. If while exercising you focus on the muscles in your body working, notice your blood circulating better and imagine how it is strengthening your heart and nourishing your tissues, you would achieve your goal faster than if you distract yourself with TV and resenting every minute of the workout.
Taking action is powerful but only provided the action you’re taking is an expression of your inspiration and excitement. It’s like taking your inspired idea to the next level, a forward-moving step, to further align with your heartfelt vision.