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July 23, 2021

Inaction Is Also An Action

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It's important to take action and be the doer that creates your world.  While I still do strongly advocate for that, there’s more to the equation than you might first think. Obviously everything you do is an action-step in your life, but also everything you don’t do is an action-step as well. More briefly put, inaction is also an action.

When we think about taking action we think about the new and novel activities or behaviors we introduce to our lives. They leave an impression because they are being done consciously within our awareness, and therefore are very top of mind. But the far majority of our actions and behaviors are done at an unconscious level. They’re still actions, we just aren’t aware of them and therefore we don’t label them as such. Your inaction on one thing does not lead to nothing... It leads to you doing something else that you’ve been habituated to doing. That is still action. Instead of beginning a new workout routine, you resort to the inaction of scrolling through social media. Instead of speaking up about a new idea at work, you recoil into a sequence of self-defeating thoughts about your creativity.

Your behavior is the language of your identity, and what we call “inaction” is actually just a proxy for taking action on the things that are already comfortable, habitual, and sub-conscious. By not taking the desired action, we revert to doing the same things we’ve always done and strengthen the sub-conscious belief we have about that thing.  It makes overwriting that your identity (which is done by taking a new action) that much more difficult the next time.  

Every choice you make is a tradeoff. You can do new things that generate new results in your life. If you don’t you’ll be relegated to taking the same old actions that lead to the same old outcomes. The choice is yours but recognize that even inaction is actually an action.

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