How To Make Taking Action Less Irritating

“Go forth! Take action!”

This command annoys me. Partly, it’s because I don’t like doing what I’m told. Partly, it’s because I am not great at it.

When it comes to doing homework, I’m fantastic at “taking action.” I think it’s some kind of birth defect.

Everyone is great at some kind of action, even if it’s just going in the kitchen for a snack, or napping. Those are verbs. And most people will take action if you say clearly, “You! Do this!”

However, when it comes to shooting up flares to declare how great I am, or asking people for favors, or ‘marketing’, I suck at “taking action”.

This means there are different kinds of action. Not all actions are created equal. Not all actions help you go where you want to in life. Not all actions require the same kind of intestinal fortitude.

So here is an “action” breakdown.

  1. Actions that feel good right now.

This kind is obvious – snacks and naps fall in this category. Scratching itches, smiling, smelling the flowers, and being nice to people you like. These things just feel good to do. Babies do them, and most everyone else will too if left to their own devices.

These things are also often good for you in a holistic sense. They reduce stress, soothe the rough edges, and make you feel calm, happy, and nurtured.

  1. Actions that don’t feel good, but that you have an incentive for.

These are things you are supposed to do to achieve something. Get up at 5 am to keep your job. Eat only spinach and pinto beans to be thin. Don’t say what you think so no one gets offended.

People tell each other that these little miseries will pay off some day. Some will, some won’t. One of the big challenges in life is figuring out the difference.

  1. Actions you have learned to love.

These are tasks that you once hated but have come to enjoy. Skills – like typing, using software, talking to people. Routines – like drinking coffee, brushing your teeth, waking up at a certain time. Habits – like eating more vegetables, walking more, writing often.

These are good for you today and in the long run. The challenge of learning to appreciate this kind of action makes it all the more valuable.

Life is much more enjoyable when you love what you are doing.

That is why nearly all actions you take should leave the second category and enter the third. We know this instinctively. That is why habits and productivity are all the rage.

We all know that there are certain tough actions that we don’t especially like, but that we need to do to like our lives in general. The trick is to train ourselves to love them.

So what are you learning to love?

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