Recently, I read some articles by two of my favourite self-help gurus, Chris Widener and Mike Brescia, which inspired me to write about three words beginning with the letter 'A'. These words have nothing to do with alcohol or cars.
The three words 'Act, Again and Anyway' can remind us of three powerful ideas which usually accompany success.
Human beings can both think in some detail and can take massive action focused on a particular goal unlike many animals. However, too many humans do not keep the right balance between thinking and acting.
Some are dynamos who love to take action but their actions often lead up blind alleys or take you in the wrong direction. You all know the scenario where you have been given a lift and gradually both you and the driver realize that neither of you have studied the maps thoroughly enough.
I once ended up going north in the UK when I should have been going south. On this occasion, my dynamic friend who was driving majored on action but flunked on planning. He kept up a steady sixty miles an hour driving on intuition and a very vague knowledge of the route. Fortunately, I spotted the signs to Newcastle when we should have been viewing signs to Dover and the south.
We did an about turn and eventually reached home in Kent! We had a good laugh at the time but might not have been so merry if we had actually ended up in Newcastle.
On the other hand, you have people who never leave home because they spend too much time worrying about the best routes. These people think too much and plan too much. The same happens in any activity whether it is driving or going in to business. Some people think too much and never act and others act without thinking.
On the whole, it is probably better to have a bias towards action rather than thinking. At least, if you act, you can find out that you are going the wrong way and take corrective action. If you just think, nothing much happens.
It is at the least arguable that not enough thought and planning took place before Iraq was invaded. The UN majored on thinking and talking while the USA and UK majored on action. A little more communication between the two groups might have improved the chances of a happy outcome.
My computer trouble shooter, Danny Burke, reckons that action should take up 75% of our time and thinking should take up 25%. Certainly, it is worth reading some at least of the instructions before trying to install some software or hardware on your computer!
Taking action can relieve stress. If you are worried about something, taking action of some sort right now can relieve the anxiety. Are you worrying about being in debt? Take action and buy less. Cancel all the magazines you never read etc. If your house is cluttered, stop feeling overwhelmed by it all and take action to sell or give away or even throw away unnecessary items.
The next key word is 'again'. Accept the fact that repetition is the mother of progress and positive habits. Understand the fact that some actions need to be taken again and again and again and again until they have become skills or habits
Mike Brescia mentions a great hockey coach who led the USA hockey team to victory against a more experienced and more skilful Russian team in 1980. The coach's favourite word was 'again'. In other words, practise that skill again and again until you can perform it with your eyes shut.
Some of my martial arts students practise their forms or patterns again and again until they know them well and can make their techniques look effective and powerful. Others need to learn about the word 'again'. They can just about manage to stagger through the form with hesitations and pauses for remembrance. They have stopped practising too soon and need to learn how to put up with the boredom of repetition.
Affirmations will only work if they are repeated. Without repetition, they will not enter the subconscious mind and start affecting your daily actions. Too many people want instant results and will do anything to avoid boredom. They soon give up on their daily affirmations.
The third word 'anyway' is one of my favourites. When the doubts arise about any action that you are not keen to take, take action 'anyway' and decide after the action has been taken whether it was worthwhile or not.
When I do not feel like going for a walk but I take action and walk 'anyway', I am always glad that I walked. The benefits of walking had been clouded temporarily by a feeling of lethargy.
Last weekend, I did not feel like attending a martial arts seminar. I attended 'anyway' and learned some incredibly useful principles and techniques. The seminar was worthwhile to say the least and I could so easily have missed out on it. I am going to another seminar next weekend and then two 'boot camps' late in November and early December.
I will probably not feel like going and concentrating for several days on end but, if I go 'anyway', I can almost guarantee I will not regret it. Of course, there may be an occasional seminar which turns out to be a waste of time but you will never know until you take action and go 'anyway'.
Test the power of the triple 'A's if you do not already do so and see for yourself what a difference these three words, 'act, again and anyway', can make in your life. Take action; embrace repetition and do it anyway.