Those who have achieved any success in life have learned to act—to actually do something. How can we learn to do a better job of that? We are all familiar with the saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” or an alternative form of the proverb, “hell is full of good meanings, but heaven is full of good works.” In other words, it is more important what we actually do than what we say we are going to do. In the Bible, Jesus taught the following parable. “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father?” In this parable, we are taught that it is more important what we do than what we say we are going to do.
There is so much unnecessary mental torment because of the lack of action. For many of the clients I’ve worked with, it seems like they insist on being miserable when all they would need to do in many cases is just a few action steps. It is when a positive thought is transferred into action that change begins. I have come to believe that in most cases putting needed change off only prolongs unnecessary suffering. There is danger in the word someday when what that means is not today. William James made the following observation many years ago. “Seize the very first possible opportunity to act on every resolution you make, and on every emotional prompting you may experience in the direction of the habits you aspire to gain. It is not in the moment of their forming but in the moment of their producing motor effects that resolves and aspirations communicate the new “set” to the brain.
When dealing with addiction issues, it is critical to act now—to do something about it. I’ve encouraged the clients that I’ve worked with to create for themselves a Future Vision Statement. When doing so, it is critical that it is written in the present tense as if it were already a reality. It is important to understand that the unconscious brain which appears to drive most of our behavior automatically simply responds to the information it has been given. This is why it is so important to be mindful of what we allow into our minds particularly in regards to pornography. Some psychologists have taught that unconscious part of the brain cannot distinguish between past present and the future. If you say “someday” I’ll do this or that to the unconscious it hears, “I don’t have to worry about that now” and the action is put off and the desired change doesn’t happen, it simply remains a wish or good intention. This is why it is critical to state what you most desire in the present tense as if it already is a reality and then keep working on it.
Life is not meant to be problem free and there will always be challenges to act upon. As Carl Jung stated, “The serious problems in life, are never fully solved. If ever they should appear to be so it is a sure sign that something has been lost. The meaning and purpose of a problem seem to lie not in its solution but in our working at it incessantly.” Act today—do what you need to do. Don’t waste another minute stewing over something that you can take care of now!