Why is Taking Action Hard? | Scott H Young
Some possible but weak reasons why action is hard:
This is a professional note extracted from an online article.
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Inaction is the biggest cause of our failures and our miseries. If we could consistently do the things we know we should do, we would be more successful, and our lives would be better. Yet we struggle to take action.
If your projects tend to fail, your expectations are low, and motivation fades. If your projects tend to succeed, your expectations go up, and motivation stays strong.
Our conscious mind may be functioning more by making reasonable-sounding explanations for its behavior rather than actually making decisions.
This means that we fail because the unconscious parts of our mind have decided not to take action. You might be convincing yourself that you want to pursue a goal when your unconscious mind is not committed to it.
We have two characteristic modes of viewing things—an abstract (or far-mode) and a concrete (or near-mode) view.
Because of the two modes, many big goals have a far-near incompatibility that can make it difficult to take action on. The person who dreams up the goal is different from the one who executes it.
Our nature may be to view the cost-benefits of taking actions and be willing to retreat to conformity instead of getting punished.
Some ventures into different kinds of actions are discouraged if they don't yield big rewards. It may explain inaction to start your own business, but a strong expectation to show up on time to work.
Procrastination may be a delaying tactic to avoid wasting energy here and now, even if you think you might work harder later on.
Traditional approaches often focus on human will alone. But, our minds are complicated things, with many conscious and unconscious control mechanisms.
To take action, we need to not only have new inputs to turn us in the right direction, but also the ability to keep headed in the chosen direction.
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Some theories of motivation claim we're naturally biased. It may happen because we can't consider all the angles. At other times, as the world advance, the usual criteria no longer apply.
There may be only a few exceptional people like Elon Musk because we can't grasp the idea that one person can create wealth or drive progress. We don't notice opportunities and more easily dismiss them.
If you think motivation is mostly rational, pay attention to what motivates you. You might not feel motivated because your current opportunities aren't that good.
If you think motivation is biased and nudging is necessary, create rules, systems, and habits to move you ahead. If you can't motivate yourself for months or years, your project may be at fault.
“It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
The most useful learning isn’t usually a strict addition of new knowledge, but first unlearning something false or unhelpful.
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