The Minimalist Guide to Sustained, Focused Action

The Minimalist Guide to Sustained, Focused Action

You wanna know my greatest flaw?

It keeps me up at night when I’m trying to sleep. It gnaws at me every single hour I’m awake and keeps me from living a life of fullness and true satisfaction. It’s the one thing I wish I could change about myself more than anything else in the world: I’m a dreamer, not a doer.

I’m obsessed with possibilities. I love the way an idea feels in your brain. It’s hopeful and exciting, and all the while, an idea demands nothing from you. In order to enjoy the mental satisfaction of pondering a world of possibilities, you don’t even have to lift a finger or get off the couch.

Dreaming is easy – it’s delightfully effortless. But it’s fun and gives you that much needed feel-good chemical release to brighten your mood.

The Tragic Tale of a Dreamer that Never Does

There’s one problem with being a dreamer – it’s addictive. The shallow mental “reward” you get every time you imagine doing something great is just enough to lift your spirits and convince your mind that you’re actually doing something with your life. But you’re not. Dreaming isn’t doing. Imagining an idea doesn’t put legs to it. That takes tenacity.

Then, there comes a point when you finally realize that you’re not going anywhere – you’re running on a treadmill and watching the same view day in and day out. The dreamer instinctively resorts to safety mode – dreaming.

You make these great plans and tell yourself that tomorrow you’ll take action and make changes that will influence the rest of your life. Finally, the nagging voice of action is silenced.

Running in Circles

If you’ve been following this blog for any time at all, you probably think I’m crazy. One week I’m writing about minimalism, the next, how to get traffic to your blog. One week there’s a comment section, the next, it’s gone. I’m always changing my mind about what I’m doing because it’s hard for me to follow through. There I said it – I’m not good with the follow through.

It’s easy to move on to the next big thing because it’s exciting and promises new possibilities that blow the old ones away. But where does that leave you? You never get a chance to become an expert in something. You run from one high to the next, but are you looking for something that’s real – or something that feels good temporarily?

A Simple Strategy for Moving Beyond Dreams

I’m taking a class about entrepreneurship and it’s immensely fascinating. One thing that I’ve learned so far – among many – is the difference between effectual and causal reasoning. Causal reasoning starts with a goal in mind.

It takes the time to fine tune that goal and choose a perfect target destination. Then it surveys the means available (resources, time, connections) and attempts to reach that goal in the most direct, efficient manner possible.

That’s not how the entrepreneurs solves problems though. Creative minds start by asking themselves what they have to start with (resources, time, connections) and then they take action. Goals spring up organically as a result of new circumstances and new information.

The end destination is never set in stone, but each step of action fine tunes the direction of movement and channels the individual toward a supreme endpoint.  Effectual reasoning would fit this description: Ready. Fire. Aim. While causal reasoning supports the more traditional approach: Ready. Aim. Fire.

In my own life, I’ve spent far too much time aiming. But life is all about action. Of course it’s important to aim at something, or else you’re no more than a leaf in the wind – but it’s much easier to steer course when you’re already moving.

Think of it like turning the steering wheel of a car: it’s much easier to turn and navigate when the car is on and moving then when the car is stationary – the same holds true with life.

Today’s Minimalist Lesson

You’ve always been taught to critically evaluate every decision and analyze every option you can take. But that involves a ton of effort and often results in going nowhere fast. Plus, it can weigh heavily on your mind.

The minimalist guide to gaining momentum involves taking action and fine tuning your direction as you go. It also means ignoring many possibilities in order to fully enjoy the pleasure of just a few.

What does that mean for this blog? It means I’m done changing my mind. I’m tired of chasing the next big idea and imaging that the grass is greener on the other side. I’ve always enjoyed writing about simple solutions to life’s often complex problems – and now, that mission is certain.

Of course, there are other things I could write about, but I want to stick around long enough to form a community, to get to know your names, to earn your trust, to enjoy the rewards of forward motion.