The Art of Taking Action Without Taking Action

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Sometimes in life you just have to let things go. Sometimes you just have to let bad things happen. Sometimes you just have to "let it be" as the Beatles used to sing. You've heard the saying, "Pick your battles …" Energy is not unlimited and it is imperative that you use your energy wisely.

Realize that no matter what you say to some people, they will never let the facts confuse them or sway them from their own firmly entrenched viewpoints. If it appears that their minds are made up about a particular issue, is it really wise to utilize your energy and resources trying to change it?

Wouldn't these resources and energy be better used to persuade those who might be open to considering an alternate viewpoint? Energy ebbs and flows so, while it's at its greatest, use it in a way where you obtain maximum effect and leverage. This is the essence of being effective.

However, do not use the "taking action without taking action" maxim as an excuse to avoid your responsibilities or to avoid taking action when you know you should. There is a difference between being able to recognize when being proactive is the proper course and whether something can better be delayed or ignored altogether.

Develop the ability to abandon the ego. The ego is perhaps the greatest driver of foolish behavior in people. Most do not realize the powerful hold their own ego has on them. It can truly be a blinding force and, when we are blinded, we will surely run into a brick wall or two. Examine what kinds of situation or comments have a tendency to get you stirred up and you've found your ego lurking in the shadows waiting to complicate your life and destroy your integrity.

Just because someone slights you it doesn't necessarily have to be addressed. Instead, outwit your adversary, just like in the movie, Enter The Dragon , where Bruce Lee talks about the art of fighting without fighting while being physically challenged by an opponent.

In this scene, Bruce manages to outwit his opponent into thinking a fight would take place. Since they were on a boat with limited space, Bruce suggests they take a smaller boat to a nearby shoreline. Bruce lets his opponent get on the smaller boat first and then lets out the tow line while the boat, along with his opponent, is tugged behind the larger boat.

He defeated and humiliated his opponent without actually having to fight. Similarly, when you refuse to take any overt action and, instead use your wits, your opponent is left drifting or standing in a mess of their own making. Staying detached from your ego and / or the outcome removes any power your opponent may have over you.

Many times we find ourselves overwhelmed with all the things happening in our lives. A lot of things which present themselves as urgent, aren't. Simply delaying, delegating, or ignoring things altogether frees you up to concentrate on more important things. The essence of being effective is to be able to wade through all the demands like a laser and focus on the things that will truly make a difference.

Another aspect of the urgency issue applies to those who run a business or run a household. You're always delaying or putting off a vacation or a break for yourself because, in your view, if you leave temporarily, the business or household will literally "fall apart". But, will it? How do you know that? Maybe now is the time for a little experiment. What is the worst that could really happen? And, if a problem arises, will it be the end of the Earth as we know it?

Sometimes you just have to let situations unfold as they should. This includes letting people sink or swim particularly if you have counseled them or shown them a path to greater effectiveness. Yes, you can open the door for them, but ultimately they are the one who has to walk through on their own volition.

So, as you go about your hectic day or week, remind yourself that what presents itself as urgent, often isn't. Also, remind yourself, that slights (real or imagined) do not have to be addressed and, often, when they are ignored, they lose all power. Most importantly, remember to give yourself a break and realize that if you leave your business or household for a few days, not much of significance is going to really happen. Peace be with you!

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Source by Allan Gregoire

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