Pray. Act. Learn. Repeat.

Do you feel like you’re not accomplishing what you had dreamed of doing in life? That you have too many road blocks to do what really matters? What you really want to be doing?

I travel down this road of self-pity almost daily.

So what’s the difference between people who change the world and those who do not? After all, most of us have dreams. Many of us have great intentions and awesome ideas around improving life for us or for others. So why is it that some people get there and others do not?

Some may be inclined to think that it has to do with intelligence or wisdom or education or fate. Certainly all of these factors play a role in how far and how fast a person can go toward a particular goal. But when we get to peel back the veil and push past our misconceptions of how others are able to achieve so much, we see that it almost always comes down to one word: action.

The Pray. Act. Learn. Repeat. mantra is adapted from a business approach many were talking about on blogs and in books a couple years ago. An even more recent book I enjoyed, simply titled Start, by Jon Acuff, focuses on pushing past the resistance. For example, he tells a story of a counselor asking him, “What do your voices tell you?” Acuff asked the counselor to explain his question further to which he responded, “Well, I’ve asked thousands of people that question over the years, and I’ve learned something: no one has a positive internal voice.” Yep, that’s right. No one has a positive internal voice. So all people–successful or not–have voices telling them why they are not going to be successful or why their efforts will not work. Why are they there? I don’t know. And I don’t have time to figure out why.

More and more I see that the difference between those who do and those who do not comes down to exhibiting a bias for action. The classic moments of resistance are always present for everyone. We have fears. We have doubts. We listen to people who are in opposition to the very thing that we believe is good. For whatever reason, they do not seem to appreciate our work even though our motives are pure and we simply want to help people. They don’t care!

So here’s what some people do…forget about ’em. Forget about the fears. Forget about the doubts. Forget about the people who want to fight what you are doing even though they seem to have no intention of offering an alternative solution or providing constructive criticism. Sometimes this forgetting actually looks more like ignoring. Ignore the giant fire-breathing beast right in front of your face–whatever form it may take–in that moment and take the next step. Act.

We do not, however, ignore research. We do not ignore those who are offering genuine advice. We do not ignore wisdom. We do not ignore the mistakes made by others who have previously walked a similar path. We do not ignore the voices of those closest to us and to whom we’ve made committments. All of these should inform that next step, but sooner rather than later, we have to take it.

Then learn from that step. Then repeat.

What is keeping you from taking the next step toward your goal?

What shape does the fire-breathing beast on your path take?

Can you do your best Cee Lo Green impression and angrily sing to it, “F(orget) You!”?

1 thought on “Pray. Act. Learn. Repeat.

  1. I love the concept of a “bias for action.” I think this is the difference between exceptional leadership and average leadership. When we act on our ideas, our goals, and our dreams we are making a positive impact… even when we fail! I fully believe we need to just go and do sometimes. Thanks for the push.


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