Act – Don’t React

Throughout the natural world, you’ll find that physical and biological forces almost always take the path of least resistance. This effect is so prevalent, in fact, that there’s a scientific term to describe it – the principle of least resistance. It should come as no surprise, then, that human beings are the same way. Think about the people you know and interact with – how many of them are inclined to take the path of least resistance? That’s why passive entertainment such as television is so popular. It doesn’t get any less resistant than television.

But you’re looking to do more than just slide through on the path of least resistance. You’re looking to achieve things for yourself, and that means not just always taking the easy way out. Sometimes – as often as possible, in fact – that means taking the initiative.

The first habit in the widely acclaimed book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” is “be proactive.” Being proactive is perhaps best understood by talking about what it isn’t. Being proactive is the opposite of being reactive; rather than simply responding to the world around you, you must seize the initiative and force the world around you to react to you. That means taking the time to truly understand what it is that you want to achieve, whether it be a writing a book, buying  a car, finding a new source of independent earnings, or meeting a new partner. It means thinking about the steps you need to take in order to achieve that goal. And it means actively pursuing those steps. Don’t wait for things to happen to you, or for your hopes and desires to be handed to you. Decide what you want, think about how to get it, and then go for it.

Don’t get discouraged if you fail when you take your first, or second, or third, or thirtieth step; failure is a normal and natural (and useful) part of the process. The important part is that you’re trying, and learning, and making progress. If you’re overwhelmed because you don’t know where to start, then start anywhere. Once you’ve taken that first step, at the very worst you’ll have learned where not to go – and with luck, that will have given you some ideas of where to try next.

None of that happens unless you make it happen. As they say, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – and the business of a half a million dollars begins with a single action.

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