“It’s easy to sit up and take notice. What is difficult is getting up and taking action.” (Honore de Balzac) – from the Jack’s Winning Words blog. As is often the case with Jack’s blog the focus is on doing and not just recognizing. If you see something that is wrong – do something about it. Jack went on to also share a saying that he says he has posted next to his computer – “Get Tough…Get Off Your Duff.” Interestingly, Jack opined that the saying that he has posted probably came from some sales pep talk.
Balzac’s advice is easier to read and think about than to act upon, since that would involve getting up and taking action. I suspect that the reason is that when we take notice of something, we start imagining how big the problem/issue may be and how difficult it would be to solve the whole problem and maybe not just the immediate problem that is front of us. If we see a hungry person on the street, we ought not worry about solving world hunger, but about helping that person get something to eat.
The other reaction that can lead to inaction is the reflex to say to yourself, “There but by the Grace of God go I.” The next step in that avoidance reaction is to rush away from the problem, thanking God for your good fortune. Perhaps the reaction should be to thank God for placing you in a position to be able to help.
Another resolution for many is to notice, but also to ignore. It is very easy to rationalize not taking action by convincing yourself that you are too busy with other important things to take action on what you have just noticed that also needs attention. People who do that are often plagued by long bouts of the “coulda, woulda, shoulda’s” later.
Our lives can become such a frenzy of activities that we become convinced that we are too busy to take on anything else; yet, if one really reflected upon the content of that daily frenzy, there are probably lots of things that could easily be dropped to take on a more important task. We bury our heads in the sands of busy work and trivial, time-wasting pursuits like texting and Facebooking to share what we had for breakfast with the world. Make no mistake about it; texting “OMG, U won’t believe what I just saw” is not taking action. Perhaps a signing off with a text, “OMG, gotta go, someone needs my help” is a start in the right direction.
So, whether you apply Balzac’s advice to your daily work life or to a life dedicated to service to others, the important thing is to combine Jack’s little saying with Balzac’s second sentence thought – get off your duff and take action.