©2017 by Nick Thistleton

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Thinking is great. Action is essential!

November 24, 2016

I'm always intrigued when people say to me, "I need to think about it".  What does it actually mean?  Does it mean they're going to carve some time out in their diary, go into their best thinking space and put their brain exclusively to work on the issue at hand?  Yes, on occasion and for some people it does mean that, but I would say that in the majority of cases, it means nothing of the kind.  What the person is really saying to me, whether they realise it or not, is: "I don't really want to deal with that right now.  So I’m going to say ‘I need to think about it’ to put you in a holding pattern and then I’m going to escape from your scrutiny".  And then, most likely, do nothing about it whatsoever.

 

Much or even most of the time, the thinking that people plan to do never happens. And even when it does happen, much or even most of the time, it remains as just that - thinking.

 

Now this might land as a little controversial with some people, but individual thinking in and of itself has absolutely no impact on the world.  I remember a quote that really turned my head a while back: "It only takes one thought to change the world."  I don’t recall where it came from, but it strongly communicated the power of the individual to have a significant impact, and I found myself hugely inspired by that.  But looking at it now, I see that it’s not strictly true.  Because it is not the thought itself that changes the world (or your business) at all, but rather the actions, and probably a sizeable number of them, that arise from that thought.

 

The truth is, having amazing insightful thoughts is not restricted to the various people through history and in modern life who we credit as geniuses.  The brain is a quite extraordinary piece of machinery and we all have one and we are all capable of exceptional thinking.  One of the tangible differences between us and those notable geniuses is that they took the actions that arose from their thinking and too often we do not.

 

"If you do nothing, there will be no results." - Mahatma Gandhi

 

The joy of the great coaching that I have received is that it has not only facilitated some of the best thinking I have ever done, but it has also provided a framework of gentle accountability in which, more often than not, the actions arising from the high-quality thinking are actually taken.  And the likelihood of the actions being taken is increased in any case by virtue of the issue having been fully explored in the thinking in the first place.  Procrastination can be many things, but it is often simply an expression of our uncertainty around the action in question.

 

Ultimately, your impact on the world or on your business is a consequence of what you do, not what you think or say.  And it’s a very binary thing - you’re either in action or you’re not.  I remember after I launched my business Lucky Voice in 2005, a number of people came out of the woodwork and said, “That private karaoke room thing you do, I was going to do that.”

 

“So were we”, said I. “And then we did.”

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