It is your actions not your words that will ultimately determine if you’re going to change. Thoughts alone cannot do it. They are the starting point and positive thoughts lead to actions, but it is what we do on a consistent basis that changes our perception of who we think we are.
We change our mind who we think we are all the time, and when we look at our life we look for what we do to determine who we are. If we read a lot of books we consider ourselves a reader. If we run marathons we consider ourselves a marathoner. And so whatever actions manifest themselves the most in our daily life is what our mind is going to believe we are.
That’s why some unfortunate souls believe themselves to be worthless and a failure. They see example after example of mistakes and various drama of one kind or another. They await change, but change cannot come, it won’t come unless they move and act.
We try to wait until we believe in something before we act. We wait till we have extra money to invest it. We wait for free time to write a book or learn how to paint. But we should act the way we want to be, in order to become who it is we want to be.
This is the reason I joined Toastmasters. After teaching for twenty years, I didn’t join because I needed to be more comfortable speaking in front of an audience. Thirty or so reluctant teenagers, three times a day, for two decades, was enough to draw that out.
No, I joined Toastmasters because deep down in my subconscious I am still a little boy who is too shy to try and questions weather he is good enough. I think this came honestly to me. I had a brother who was nine years older, so I was pretty much on my own. We also moved half way across the world, to a new country with a new way of being, and I did not know how to communicate. There was a lot of things to overcome but I think some of the unconscious scripts that were written when I was a little boy, continue to run deep inside of me.
It is for this reason that I joined Toastmasters. Not to become a better speaker, although that is becoming a very pleasant surprise, but rather to overcome the way I see myself and feel about my self worth. Dragging my ass on Tuesdays and delivering a seven minute speech that very few people get to hear is the kind of action that has shaped who I am and continue to be.
The action came first. I didn’t feel good about what I was doing. I wanted to find my dreams, not do the work, but I did the work because you can’t get you your dreams otherwise.
And so we need more action in our lives. A lot less words. A lot less theories. A few less self help books and not because words or theories or self help books don’t work. They do, but they are impotent without action.
So go and act and pretend and be the person you’ve always wanted to be. It doesn’t matter how you feel, or what people think. Do what you want to do. Be who you want to be. Give it time and see. See what happens. There is nothing you stand to lose.
There will always be more words but the days to act are numbered.
Cover photo generously provided by photographer Jakob Owens.