It is part of human nature to regularly haggle with urges that might push us out of our comfort-zone. We are constantly weighing the risks of taking action.
In my opinion, the “safe” choice of inaction is almost always the wrong (and even more dangerous) choice. The choice to push away a persistent inner urge can be hugely detrimental to oneself, ones immediate circle, and society at large.
But the WAY you take action is so important. Because wrong action will leave you worse off than where you started, and likely cause you to never take that risk again.
If you jump the gun with wrong action you might wind up burning bridges, hurting people you love, depleting your energetic and financial resources, or just making an ass of yourself. Also (and worst of all) you might shame your dream back into hiding.
If the stakes are really high, and the urge has been there for a long time, you are much more likely to sabotage yourself with wrong action. Let’s look at an example of this….
What Wrong Action Looks Like
When I was a young lady of 20, a more mature lady in her 40s (let’s call her Mary) invited me to sublet her apartment in Washington Heights. She lived out of state with her family, but aspired to get back to NYC one day to pursue her lifelong dream of acting.
At the time, I was renting a room in the East Village and I really wanted a change. I had some success over the past year in my own acting career, and I liked the idea of living alone. So I moved into her large two-bedroom apartment way up by 200th Street, which I had all to myself.
In order for me to move in, Mary had to evict two very kind, mature men who had been roommates there for several years. They had made the apartment nice and homey. Great furniture. Seemed to have a really good friendly rapport between them. And both were artists so the cheap rent enabled their lifestyles.
They were disappointed to have to leave, but still accepting and warm towards me.
After they moved all their stuff out and I moved my meager belongings in, it didn’t feel quite right.
The second bedroom was large and I used it as my “closet”. This meant that I dumped a pile of clothing in the middle of the floor. And had a pile of jewelry on another part of the floor. The room was barely used.
The Cloisters were beautiful and the neighborhood had soul, but I was too young to appreciate living by 200th street. It made me nervous to ride the train up after a late night out, yet too far to justify taking a cab. I had no friends up there and I felt out of the loop. I wasn’t at an age where that neighborhood could feel like “home”.
The whole thing felt wrong. But this example isn’t about me. It’s about Mary.
Approximately three months after I moved in, I got a call from Mary. She wanted to discuss something important. I sat down and listened.
Over the next ten minutes Mary opened up and bared her heart and soul. She told me of her lifelong dream to be a successful actor, how it was the only thing that brought her meaning, how she had to do something before it was too late.
Then she asked me to connect her to my agents so she could finally get the chance to make her dream come true.
As I listened to her words, it all came into focus. She had known about my success in acting, she had seen an opportunity to pursue her repressed urge to act, and she had orchestrated the move to help herself pursue that urge. She asked the guys to move out and moved me in to her apartment so that she could one day ask me this favor.
When she was finished her plea, I told her the flat out truth: “my agents won’t even speak to someone that doesn’t have a serious credit. I was recommended to them by a famous actor who I costarred in a major TV show with. I am at the bottom rung there, my recommendation means nothing if the actor I’m promoting isn’t already established in some way.”
Action With a Rotten Root
This was the most direct way I could tell Mary “no”. But the fact was, I wouldn’t have recommended her as a favor based on the fact that she had sublet her apartment to me anyway.
I had no idea if she had any talent as an actor. I was in a business exchange with her, not a creative collaboration. And my newfound success wasn’t stable yet, I wasn’t in a position to promote less established actors than myself.
Furthermore, I felt shitty about the whole thing. I felt like I never should have been given the apartment in the first place. I didn’t like the vibe around our connection. I felt like it represented the worst in both of us. The root was rotten.
I sympathized with her urge to pursue her dream, but the action towards it was all wrong. It would have been more logical to gradually pursue small, local opportunities, then naturally transition toward the city, to bigger jobs and hopefully capture the attention of an agent or manager one day.
It didn’t make sense to try to jump from being totally off the industry grid, to working with one of the top three agencies in the world.
Because of the wrong action, her positive urge to pursue her passion was thwarted, lots of time was wasted, and those male roommates were innocent casualties in the situation.
Within two months I had moved out again.
Over-Blowing Your Wad
Does this sound familiar to you? Ever had an urge that was so deep and enduring that you misread an “opportunity” and totally overshot yourself? Without sensibly looking at the facts of the situation, you threw all your chips on the table?
Maybe you confessed full-on love to that person you had a big crush on, only to scare them away…
Or you quit your job in an angry haze, only to realize you burned an important bridge…
Or you jumped into a mob of passionate protestors, only to realize you weren’t really down with their antics…
Or you impulsively moved to a totally new place, only to discover it wasn’t nearly as poetic as you imagined it would be…
When you take wrong action, you usually wind up failing hard. Then you find yourself back where you started, licking your wounds, thinking that it must’ve been a bad urge to begin with – INCORRECT! You just didn’t go about it right.
Your desperation, lack of information, or ignorance just blew your wad in the wrong way.
So what does right action look like?
How to Take Right Action
As stated before, I believe the “safe” choice of inaction is almost always the wrong choice when you have a strong urge or desire.
Since you’ve been given this one life in your human incarnation, you should do stuff with it. When you have an urge, tis always better to do something about it, than to act like a lifeless lump.
I’m also of the opinion that when you have an urge, it’s not just your urge, it nature’s urge that is being expressed through you. As such, you are responsible for taking those urges very seriously. They have been placed in your care, so you must treat them responsibly.
However, when a strong urge to take action towards something new or different does arise, you’ve got to get really centered when choosing how to pursue it.
As you take small steps out of your comfort zone, make sure you integrate and assimilate the change gradually, and make any adjustments along the way. This way your action is smart and you stay stable.
Here is a sequence of events I recommend when you’ve got a strong urge to make a change. This is the way to take Right Action:
- Get out a notebook and write down the urge or desire in one clear complete sentence.
- List all of your inner values that the urge represents.
- Write down the biggest and best possible outcome of pursuing that urge.
- Do research on the details.
- List the negatives of taking action.
- Write out all the positives of taking action.
- Write out a list of baby steps for yourself to get moving towards your ultimate goal.
The Enduring Power of Baby Steps
Your brain is smart, but it can’t comprehend the big picture. So what it imagines as the perfect end result, really just represents an idea, or a feeling.
By taking the time to gradually and intelligently pursue your desire (by taking baby steps), you will enter an energetic conversation with that urge.
As you, piece by piece, take gradual sequential action you are going to get great information! You will find out if the course you imagine is actually an energetic match to your desire.
Also, because you are just taking small steps, you can easily make adjustments along the way. It’s like the difference between walking a few steps off course, versus driving a few miles off course.
By moving slower, you’ll be able to intuitively correct the direction of your journey as you move forward.
Now Go Ahead and Take Action!
Okay, if you’ve made it this far, you most certainly have something that you want to pursue… and it wants you to pursue it too! Go ahead and do the above exercises RIGHT NOW. I can’t wait to find out what you create….
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