7 Reasons Why We Know Action Is The Antidote To Despair
Activist and songwriter, Joan Baez is famous for saying, “Action is the antidote to despair.” Without hope, we become powerless. However, when we feel hopeful, we manage to find the energy to keep going, even against all odds. What makes the difference? It’s our emotional response to a given situation. Our emotions around hope and despair are powerful and can be life-altering! You know this if you’ve been in a situation where you couldn’t see your way out and you felt despair.
Especially if you’re a person who dares to dream big, you can experience the despair of “failing” big. Of course, you know that I don’t see anything as a failure. I prefer to see it as learning a lesson, which informs me about what steps to take next.
We have countless examples in history when, even in dire circumstances, the human spirit rises above and gets a person through unimaginable troubles. They do it by taking one small step at a time. What Confucius said really applies in this situation, ‘A journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step’.
Despair gains a foothold on us when we focus on what’s wrong. We begin to feel a major shift, when we switch our focus from problems to solutions, from despair to deciding. And ultimately the transformation comes when you switch from seeing to doing.
Turn the inertia of despair into an unstoppable steamroller of action…
- Just do something!
You know that the hardest part is always just taking the first step. At this point we don’t have the power of momentum behind us, propelling us forward. And we may even be fighting against the pull of inadequacy, fear and external, negative forces. If the Space Shuttle never broke free from the earth’s atmosphere, it would never have reached the star. Aim for the stars by stepping out of your comfort zone. The beautiful thing is that you can make course corrections along the way.
2. Kick procrastination to the curb.
How many brilliant ideas have you had? I imagine they could fill a book! But if they only become lines in a book what good are they? Those ideas have to become action in order to amount to anything. When an idea occurs to you, ask yourself, “Is there a good reason why I don’t move forward with this?” If there isn’t, do it immediately. Turn one of your ideas into reality today.
3. Avoid paralyzing over-thinking.
Do you catch yourself defaulting to a worst-case scenario…”But if I do that, (worst-case scenario) might happen!” Thinking through all the possible consequences is a powerful tool if you keep it positive. Negative thoughts are paralyzing. Positive thoughts are energizing. Use your thought process to make your ideas bloom through positivity.
4. Make momentum your ally.
Once you get moving, keep the momentum going by feeding your enthusiasm and self-confidence by noticing, and celebrating, every little thing you accomplish. Don’t let a day go by that you don’t do something productive related to your idea.
5. Become mindful of your body sensations.
Our body sends us signals to keep us safe. For example, if you’re nervous about making your presentation, think about what your body is telling you. Is it revealing negative self-talk that needs to be adjusted. Perhaps it’s telling you that you may not be as prepared as you could be. Listen to the message and do what you can to make yourself feel confident. If you’re in a situation where you run out of time, thank your body for trying to keep you safe and reassure your mind/body connection that you’re okay; you can handle what happens next.
6. Be fully present in the moment.
We’ve all heard the expression, “don’t borrow trouble”, which is closely related to not being paralyzed by negative thinking. But it carries a deeper meaning — handle what’s in front of you right now, today, because you don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring. We can’t go back in time, we can’t foresee the future. We are living in this moment. Fully experience it, appreciate it, learn from it, and become the best version of yourself from it.
7. Work at mastery.
It’s easy to let yourself be distracted, going down each rabbit hole, but it’s not productive or healthful. Your idea deserves dedicated time and attention. Call up all of your inner strength and be patient with yourself until you master all of the aspects necessary to bring your idea to life. The more you accomplish, the stronger your self-confidence becomes, which leads you to accomplish more.
A practice of mindfulness helps us see the world as it is and see the potential of what could be. My hope is that the above suggestions help you to be brave enough to step into that gap.
I’d love to hear what idea comes to life because this article inspired you. Please contact me here or on Facebook and let me know. And if you’d like some help moving forward, please feel free to contact me and schedule a 30-minute complimentary consultation, to see if we’re a good fit for working together.
Thank you Raj Rana for the photo!