It was Norman Peale, in his book, “The Power of Positive Thinking”, who popularized the concept of “any action is better than no action at all”. The controversial clergyman argued that, “Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.”
It’s an intriguing thought, the lack of action resulting from fear. So, when I asked Jack Canfield, famed author of the hugely successful “Chicken Soup For The Soul” publications, to write the foreword for my book “Pushing The Boundaries” (https://www.pushingtheboundaries.life), I knew he’d address this fact. Jack asked, “What is it about successful people who have pushed beyond boundaries to succeed that makes them unique?” For Jack, the answer is this: they have the confidence and the courage to take risks in order to get ahead.
I think patience is another great quality that works in this context. It’s patience that creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success. It’s impatience that breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. So, when Jack asked, “Are you ready to take chances to achieve your goals? Or is fear standing in your way?”, he didn’t talk about anxiety, discouragement and failure, but focused on fear. “Fear is the single biggest thing that holds us back,” he wrote. “Unless you can step past that fear, you’ll just end up playing it safe and avoid trying new things. And that means it’s unlikely you’ll ever fulfill the dream most of us have of living a more rewarding life. But remember this: fear is all about what might happen, not what will happen. And even more importantly, all your fears are self-created by your imagining a negative outcome. You have the power within you to overcome that fear by using the same power of imagination to envision the positive outcome you want, and then take the kind of calculated risks that can lead to success.”
Jack tells people that everything they want that they don’t already have is just on the other side of fear. “Having the conviction to reach beyond your fears and take chances means you’re ready to achieve lasting success,” he says. And frankly, he confesses that unless he was willing to do just that himself, he’d still be teaching history in a Chicago high school rather than running a multimillion-dollar enterprise as he does today.
One other quick thought on this subject. I’ve recently been asking people I come into contact with, “Is there anything I can do for you?” The reaction is, typically, one of surprise: folks just aren’t used to others wanting to help them out of the blue. But I think it’s important for those of us with means to offer assistance to those who may be lacking such benefits. And when people realize my offer is real, with no strings attached, whether they take up the proposition or not, there is genuine pleasure expressed that another person might consider their plight in life.
Try it sometime: I think you’ll be pleased with the result.