How to Always Take Action NOW (2020 Mindset Shift)
It’s no secret that successful people take lots of action, what does seem to be a secret however, is the actual mechanism that allows them to always be taking action, I mean really, we all have a rough idea of the sort of things that we should be doing to be successful, work hard, prioritize our health, build good habits, we’ve read and watched countless books and youtube videos on how to do all of these things, but if we’re being honest with ourselves are we any better at doing the one thing that actually matters? Actually taking action.
Probably not, which is why in this video, I’m going to explain the modern phenomenon that is preventing so many of us from taking action, as well as go over 4 easy to implement steps to make taking action not only effortless, I’ll show you how to make it our default state, how to make taking action instinctual.
Why we suck at taking action now more than ever?
So first let’s discuss why we suck at taking action now more than ever? why this generation is constantly critiqued for being the weakest generation ever?
This is actually a relatively new phenomenon which I think is best described as external first mindset, I’ll explain. Not that long ago, if we wanted to use information as a tool, we had to literally get into a car and go to a library, which was only open during certain hours, if we wanted to build good habits or start a business, we were a lot more likely to first consider these things internally – before going all the way to the library to consume books or otherwise external information.
Because of that, we had a naturally default internal first mindset. These days, not only do we have all the information we need available right at our fingertips, we’re essentially being force-fed information, regardless of whether or not we even want it!
How many videos have you watched today? Are you going to watch another one after this one?
Most self-help content is, even unknowingly to the people creating the content, designed to keep us consuming. You probably know at least one person who’s really successful, chances are that if you ask them, How’d you become successful?, they’re not going to respond with “I learned from a YouTube course” or “I’m successful because of this book that I read”, now that’s not to say that they won’t reference those information sources as potentially key pieces in their overall development, but at the end of the day, information sources are just that, information sources.
Successful people use information to sharpen the blade, but they are the blade, by contrast, most of us are just reading about the blade, imagining what it’s like to be the blade and we rust and become dull in the process.
How do we make the shift from the external first mindset back to internal first mindset?
So, How do we make the shift from the modern default state of external first mindset, back to internal first mindset? how to actually be the blade instead of just fucking theorizing about it? Here are the 4 steps:
Step 1. Redefine our understanding of “knowledge”
Ok, so the first thing we have to do is completely redefine our understanding of knowledge. Books are not knowledge, books are just information in a raw state, good information as well as bad information, and frankly, most modern books actually make us weaker by reading them.
“The 5 Second Rule is simple. If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it.The moment you feel an instinct or a desire to act on a goal or a commitment, use the Rule. When you feel yourself hesitate before doing something that you know you should do, count 5-4-3-2-1-GO and move towards action.”
Ok, great thanks Mel Robbins. Oh wait, can you explain one more thing? Can you explain why the fuck we need a 240 page book to explain this? What, to understand the science behind it? Are you fucking kidding me?
Anyone who reads all 240 pages of this book, is weaker by the end of it, because they will have wasted, how long does it take to read 240 pages?, about seven hours? They will have wasted seven hours reading about the theory of something that can be instantly applied within seconds.
Watching informational YouTube videos is no different, the bottom line here is any information that we consume is not knowledge until we’ve directly applied it. Before application, information exists only as theory. And even after applying it once, in most cases it’s still not quite knowledge, it’s imitation.
Knowledge is only achieved when we apply a theory and have formulated our own critical thoughts on it by observing our own direct experiences with it.
Developing an internal first mindset really isn’t remotely possible until we understand knowledge in this way. “To know the path is not to walk the path, to walk the path IS to know the path.”
Step 2. Never Read More Than 1 Chapter (or watch more than 1 video)
Now that we’ve defined knowledge, let’s put it to the test in real life.
Books are separated into chapters for a reason, as nownovel.com describes: “They give the reader space to pause and digest the plot developments and complications of the preceding chapter”
When it comes to self-help or business type books, chapters generally start by outlining a specific problem or concept, then they go on to solve the problem, usually with relatable examples, and almost always wrap-up with some sort of important takeaway or a set of actionable steps to follow.
If you think about it, a chapter is basically designed for us to pause for a moment to consider what we’ve just consumed, and to conceptualize how and where we can apply it within our own lives.
If we read a chapter in a book talking about “developing good habits”, why not pause and ask the following questions?
- How can we take that information and apply it within our own lives?
- What sort of experiences do we already have with developing habits, successes, failures, and everything else?
- Can we use our own experiences to add additional, or even perhaps opposing perspectives?
This is how we go from mindless consumption to critical thinking, which is a key characteristic of internal first mindset.
If we’re watching a YouTube video, the same thing applies, I know it feels like we’re “learning” when we watch more than one video on a specific subject, but how much great or enlightening content do we watch that we end up just forgetting about a few hours later?
When I first started really getting into YouTube I was a victim of this, YouTube, like all social media platforms, is designed to keep us consuming and if we watch five videos before we even have the faintest impulse to think “oh wait, I’m wasting time”, that’s a trademark sign of external first mindset.
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Step 3: Consume knowledge only when we can quickly apply it
So the key here is to simply avoid consuming information if we’re not in a position to immediately apply it.
If you like to start your mornings at the gym, and know that you’re going to be working on your business afterwards, it’s perfectly fine for you to consume information about fitness or business.
If you like to read before you go to sleep, and you’re going to hit the gym the following morning, great time to read a chapter or watch a video related to training strategies, since studying something before sleep improves our ability to recall it.
But what about if you’re sitting on your couch, watching a video about how to improve your discipline, when you know you’re going to spend the next few hours playing video games? Not a good time. Eating breakfast and watching a video about how to be more creative, when you won’t be doing anything creative any time soon? Useless. If you can’t immediately apply, don’t consume.
Sitting on the couch may be a good time for you to just rest, or meditate. Breakfast is a great time for you to think about the day in front of you – or maybe just get your mind going with a good crossword puzzle.
Shifting to an internal first mindset means not only knowing when to best consume information, but to also consciously decide for what purpose we’re consuming the information, which, when it comes to “self-help” type content, should always be towards the purpose of actually applying it.
Step 4: Never consume any information without thinking about it ourselves first
This is the final and most important step, the culmination of this whole article and the last four steps we talked about, imagine what our lives would be like if we internalized whatever question we have first, before searching externally for the answers.
How do I start a business? How do I learn how to dance? How do I work out? When we consider these questions ourselves first, before we look to external information sources, we may be blown away by the results.
Here’s a personal example, when I first started dancing salsa, after a few months I got to a point where I was no longer enjoying the classes, I just hated the music, instead of going online to search externally, for a solution, I thought about the question internally first, after a bit of introspection, I figured that, to enjoy the music, that perhaps I should study the flow of the music and understand how different instruments and harmonies work together, study the origins, understand how cuban and puerto rican salsa evolved into their own unique styles, the tragic story of Hector Lavoe and how that translated into his music.
I called my mom, who loves salsa, to ask her a few questions and she told me stories about how she and her cousins would go to Central Park to watch the Fania All-stars during the early 70’s, I learned that the short, friendly chubby guy that came to my house for Christmas that one year was actually Willie Colon, one of the pioneers of salsa!
By doing all of that, not only did I come to appreciate Salsa music, I came to absolutely fall in love with it, now I listen to salsa music all the time. When a great song comes on I’ll instinctively move my body or feel the urge to get up and dance. When any of the Fania All-stars are on, I imagine my mother listening to the same music all those years ago in central park- and I feel happiness.
My point here is that I wanted to love salsa, because I saw it as a beautiful vehicle for me to express myself through movement and when I started failing, instead of looking to the external, I went internal first and there I was able to figure out and discover what I had ought to do to succeed.
Now, imagine if we considered every one of our challenges or goals with an internal first mindset. If we’re trying to develop a habit, we can first use our own experiences trying to build habits, successes and failures, before looking externally.
If we want to start our own business, what sort of observations have we made about previous jobs we’ve had within different types of industries? what made those businesses successful, unsuccessful? and how could we have improved them?
I was originally a freelance website designer, and the more websites I designed, the more I realized that I could develop systems to help me design websites faster, while simultaneously delivering more value to my clients, and that’s essentially how I began and grew my business to over 40 employees and thousands of happy clients.
I didn’t watch a single video course or read a single book on building businesses, I just used internal first mindset and a bit of common sense. Application is everything.
Alright guys, so to recap, these days, we’re being literally bombarded by the same information that we had to exert great physical effort to gain access to in the past, which has conditioned us to default to an external first mindset, where taking action is way more difficult.
To remedy this, we need to return to internal first mindset, which we accomplish in 4 steps:
Step 1: Redefine our understanding of knowledge, information does not equal knowledge, information becomes knowledge only once we apply it and form our own critical thoughts about it.
Step 2: Never read more than one chapter or watch more than one video, apply what we’ve learned to actually learn it before consuming anything else.
Step 3: Consume knowledge only when we can quickly apply it.
Step 4: Never consume any information without thinking about it ourselves first.
Be the blade always and use information sources only for the purposes of making yourself sharper.
Good luck and cya in the next article!