Don’t Just Know, Do

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No matter how much faculty of idle seeing a man has, the step from knowing to doing is rarely taken. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Simple Dollar, like any worthwhile internet resource, is about knowledge. The entire purpose of the site is to get your mind thinking about your money, your time, and your career. Even if you don’t agree with every idea or conclusion presented (and, frankly, you shouldn’t unless you’re in your early thirties and living in Iowa in a house with a spouse and three children and with a very similar personality to mine), you’re at least pushing yourself forward by thinking about those ideas.

In the end, though, it doesn’t matter how many great ideas you have floating around in your head if you never take action on any of those ideas.

You can think about frugality all day long, but if you don’t actively make choices to save money or engage in projects that result in lowered expenditures, those thoughts don’t add up to too much.

You can think about your career all day long, but if you’re not volunteering for hard tasks, taking classes to improve your skill set, or putting your nose to the grindstone on the dull tasks, you’re going to remain one of those middle-of-the-road workers no matter how many great thoughts you have.

You can think about your health all day long, but if you still stop for fast food on the way home, pick up a super-sweetened coffee each morning, and sit on the couch instead of exercising, you’re not going to get into better shape no matter how powerful your ideas are.

Changing your life comes from action, not from just thinking about it. You might know exactly what you need to do. You might even think of those actions as common sense. Still, if you’re not actually doing those things, nothing is ever going to really change in your life.

Every day, you have a choice. You can either sit back and let your life continue in the way that it always has, or you can stand up and push your life in a different direction.

You can twiddle your thumbs and watch the clock at work, or you can try to fill those hours by learning a new task or implementing a new workflow.

You can stop at the grocery store and wander about as you toss things in your cart, or you can plan meals ahead of time, design a grocery list that takes advantage of sales, and greatly reduce that bill you’ll be facing at the checkout line.

You can kick back on the couch and watch Sportscenter or TMZ (or fire up your laptop to check the scores or see some celebrity pics), or you can read a challenging book or stop at the gym for an hour.

Positive change in your life doesn’t come from having powerful ideas. It comes from putting those powerful ideas to work. Most people don’t have what it takes to really do that, but the people who do are the people who get ahead and have all of the things they want in life.

Are you going to sit around and think about it? Or are you going to do it?

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9 thoughts on “Don’t Just Know, Do

  1. A certain level of thinking and planning are necessary to be successful in accomplishing anything, but not moving beyond thinking and planning accomplishes nothing, no matter how much you think and plan. Nice article!

  2. Some folks never start because they’re afraid. A familiar path that faithfully leads to dispair and destruction is less frightening than the unknown route to a new existance.

  3. Interesting. When I start or do something new, I often feel afraid too, but I never let a little fear stop me. I just figure out how I’d deal with the worse case scenario. Once I’ve figured this out, I jump in to the new thing. It works for me.

  4. Brian and chuck, it describes me as well. I think it applies to everyone in various degrees and various ways.

  5. “A familiar path that faithfully leads to dispair and destruction is less frightening than the unknown route to a new existance.”

    That was profound!! I’m going to commit that to memory!

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