“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” -dale carnegie
This is a great quote from a poor farm boy turned personal development giant whose work began, no exaggeration, a century ago. You may know him best for his book How to Win Friends and Influence People published in 1936 and still quite popular today.
What I love about Carnegie’s story is that he quit his sales job in 1911 to follow his dream of becoming a lecturer. And he, like so many greats, failed before he succeeded. Taking what he may have perceived as a few wrong turns before he got it right. In 1912 NYC, nearly broke and unemployed, he persuaded the manager of the 125th Street YMCA, where Carnegie lived at the time, to allow him to instruct a public speaking class. From which he discovered the average American’s wish to have more self confidence, and in just two years after launching his courses, Carnegie was well on the road to success.
“Action breeds confidence and courage.”
By the same token, I have been reading more of Kelly McGonigal’s book The Willpower Instinct. I found her findings fascinating. (Wow, that came out weird.) She conducted a study on willpower, naturally, where she found that participants could benefit from flexing the willpower muscle in any avenue of their lives and see unintended benefits across the board. For instance, in setting and succeeding at a small willpower goal, waking up early, let’s just say, participants also reported things like drinking less, eating less, smoking less.
I thought this was perfect to share for those of you paralyzed by the enormity of your goals. If your goal is to quit smoking let’s say, set a willpower goal to declutter your closet. Now the tricky part is that the study participants had no idea of the effect beyond that of their initial goal. And your awareness to that may skew your actions a bit, but no worries, you’ll still get an uncluttered closet out of the whole deal. When you’ve conquered that one, set another. “Action breeds confidence and courage.”
Just keep moving forward.
The photo above was taken after I completed my first, and so far only, formal open water swim, something that, oddly for a surfer I know, had previously terrified me. As you can imagine, it turned out to be 1.6 miles of majestic wonderment that no doubt had its challenges, but was totally worth it. Little did I know, courage in action, nurtured confidence in other arenas. (Although I can’t say it translated well to that immediate July 21st afternoon when, on my favorite beach, Makapu’u, I asked Elisa to be my wife–the getting it just right part was painfully nerve wracking!)
Confidence did indeed come, and it continues to. Yet it seems to, pardon the beach metaphor, ebb and flow like the sea. Each time I challenge something my mind has put off as too difficult (willpower), I stack up the chips in my favor. Again, I may not be going after the big giant enormous goal just yet, but momentum is action and action is conquering fear and conquering fear, my friends, is magical dreaming!
I leave you with this: What are some areas, perhaps not related to your end goal, where you’d like to see some change? Something you’ve wanted to do for a while and haven’t? In the next 48, hours set a willpower goal you can accomplish within a months time. And just because it might seem like sidetracking, don’t take it any less serious. There’s a reason why it’s not done already, right? Chunk it down and do it correctly. Cheating here will get you nowhere;) This is foundation building, the heavier the better!
Go out and get busy!
“Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work that you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours.” -dale carnegie