Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Apply What You Know: Why Action not Knowledge is Power

We've likely all heard the phrase “knowledge is power.” 

Many of us will also have eagerly endeavored to be more educated, study countless books and actively pursue knowledge in whatever means we can - all in the hopes of bettering ourselves.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with that; knowledge is a fantastic asset, and it can take us so far. But, that’s only if we apply it - knowledge is our fuel, but action is what drives. When we take what we know and transform it into action, we ignite a new energy in our lives, we create movement, we manifest change.

From my own experience, I had gained plenty of knowledge: about myself, about life and about how to get what I want. I inundated my brain with “Ted Talks,” myriads of articles and a sizable chunk of the inspirational quotes available on Instagram.

I could dish out advice left, right and centre, and even lay out plan after plan for myself to achieve my goals. But, until I actually took those steps, I wouldn't have what I wanted. Until I took my own advice, I would be a hypocrite.

Theory is wonderful, but if it's just waiting on the tip of your tongue ready to preach, it might as well have stayed in the book you got it from. Until we get practical and turn our words into actions, the knowledge we acquire is merely potential, not power.

Knowing heaps and doing nothing led to incredible frustration for me in the past. So if that feeling sounds familiar, here's a few reasons to ditch the talk and start walking the walk.


Talk is cheap.

Communication is only 7 percent verbal, and you can learn a lot from people by their actions, their experiences and how they conduct themselves.

Without intending to fill this point with clich├ęs, actions do speak louder than words, and I really believe that to be true in all avenues of life. You can tell me that you know it all and you've read every single book there is, but if you haven't been through it, you don't really “know” what it's like. We can tell people what we're 'going' to do, but if our moves don't match up, we lose credibility. 

Words are wonderful but action is substantial; it hits the senses, it's more alive than the many words littering our lives.

Whether it's relationships, work or our mental health, our knowledge is only as expansive as our own active experience of them. Proactive engagement is what will enrich us, not cheap talk. 


It kicks fear’s ass.

Little by little, I’ve come to trust that action is the antidote to fear. Overcoming our fears may kick off with a lot of convincing self-talk, but ultimately, diving in and “just doing it” is how sh*t gets done. 

I've had a litany of irrational fears rule my life over the years, and I eventually realized that one by one, they could be beaten by taking action.

Whether it was letting big things go, trying something new or just putting myself out there, no amount of knowing I could do it would get rid of the fear. I had to actually take that leap and wholly believe it'd be okay.

Obviously, it's no walk in the park to just jump right on in; but from practice, I trust that every time a fear comes up now, the only way out is through action.

It sparks experience.

Taking action gives us experiences we'd otherwise miss out on. We can do relentless research, knowing exactly what we want to do and how it needs to be done, but if we put it off day after day, we never really know what it's like. We don't get to enjoy our dreamed up experiences until we act. 

Acting on our ideas, practicing our plans and doing what we know is good for us gives us the experiences that'll help us grow.

There's no point knowing you deserve more but never looking for more. There's no point having goals but doing none of the work toward achieving them. Our power comes from getting involved, getting stuck in and cultivating whole, human experiences.

Without it, there’s no change.

At different times when change was what I wanted most, my inner frustration quickly crept its way in. Because, I knew the theory of change, I knew exactly how to get what I was seeking, and I knew what needed to be done... But, I just wasn't doing it.

Motivation was low, and procrastination was high. So, I was stuck, bursting with knowledge that I was busy ignoring. 

Change begins with awareness, which leads to acceptance and then, finally, to action. Action is the turning point; the catalyst to change. Without it, we end up just sitting here, feeling lazy, having all of the answers and none of the results. Using our awareness to create change in our lives is powerful, but that power only arises from implementing what we know. 

We can’t just do it once, either. It's not about ticking a little box and saying we've done it. The consistent action in forming a habit is what creates lasting change in our lives.

***

With any goal or plan in life, action is the key. Knowing you're in desperate need of a holiday is quite different to actually booking one. Knowing 101 ways to self care but never caring for ourselves is similarly missing the point. Social media is rich in information now; self help, advice and life tips ooze from our screens. However, it's no use simply 'liking' them, we need to start living them. 


We need to stop collecting and hoarding all this potential and finally turn it into power.