Awesome Justin’s burning question: “Hi Melody, I have a clarity question: LOA still seems a riddle to me. I have just read Think and Grow Rich and Napoleon Hill’s step by step approach says to create a plan and start immediately. It’s confusing because other teachers say not to worry about the “how”… Is creating a plan and starting immediately contradictory? No-one has been able to answer this for me yet.”
Dear Awesome Justin,
You may not know this about me, but “No one has been able to answer this for me yet” is my secret crack (Challenge Accepted!!!). Maybe don’t tell anyone… we don’t want this getting out.
Now, on to your excellent question. This is actually one of the top things people struggle with – how important is action? When should we take it? How much of it should we take? And how can we tell if action is inspired by intuition or fear? I’ve written about this topic several times, but your question is giving me an opportunity to present an angle I’ve never before revealed (queue the dramatic music, Dun-Dun-Dunnnnn!) And that is: How action can actually help us align with the energy of what we want. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, action can be a type of energy work.
”But… but… “, I can hear your lip quivering now, “aren’t we supposed to just align with what we want, and then let the action be inspired? Isn’t that what you’ve been teaching all along?” Well yes, it is. And thank you for paying attention. That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. But just in case you haven’t studied everything I’ve ever written (the nerve!), here’s a quick and dirty run down (but presented in a new way, to keep everyone entertained):
Everything starts with energy and alignment. Your reality, everything you see around you, every encounter you have, is just a mirror of your personal vibration, which is a result of your perspective. Since that simple statement compressed about 5.000 different concepts into one little sentence, let me clarify with an example: If you are focused on your job in a way that makes you feel bad, your perspective differs from the one you need to have in order to get what you want. If you had your dream job, you would be thinking “I freaking love this job!” Your current reaction of “I hate this stupid job and all the morons who work here!”, differs from that in a rather significant way. It’s not your job that’s the problem – it’s merely a representation of what you’re aligning with. The real issue is your perspective, how you are looking at your job. If you can adopt the point of view, the feeling, you’d have if you had your dream job, your reality would morph in order to match THAT.
HOW that new reality would come about, isn’t really your business. And even though I’m going to be talking about action in a new way here today, I continue to stand by that (and no, Napoleon Hill’s advice doesn’t actually contradict that, but I’ll get to that in a second). You are built to focus, to decide what you want. You are not built to make anything happen. That does not, however, mean that you can’t participate, if you want to. This participation is what we call “Inspired Action”. It’s a bit like this:
Let’s say you want to build a house and you hire a top notch construction crew. They can build you anything you can dream up, and they’ll do everything from sourcing the supplies, to excavating the site, to getting all the permissions, hiring subcontractors, planting the trees, and even adding little details you forgot you wanted. They can do everything. Everything except tell you what you want the house to look like. That’s your job.
Uninspired (fear based) action
Now, what most people will do, is they will make a haphazard plan for the house, and then they’ll run down into the construction pit, shove the expert workers aside and try and haul lumber, pound in some nails, lay a couple of bricks, order the crew around, bitch about how hard it is, try to recruit people who never volunteered and don’t know the first thing about construction to help, get mad at them when they don’t want to help or don’t do it right, micromanage the expert crew and basically, be a big, giant pain in the ass who just gets in the way. All the crew needs from you is the plan – “Tell us what you want and we’ll give it to you.”
This micromanaging behavior is fear based action. It’s not inspired. You feel that you need to control everything or it won’t get done. There’s no trust in the crew. What’s worse, if you spend all your time trying to “help”, you’re probably not spending nearly enough time on the blueprints. So your house ends up looking nothing like what you actually wanted. Not even the most talented contractor can give you what you want if you don’t let him know what that is, especially if you insist on meddling.
Inspired action comes from trusting the crew to build the perfect house, and then letting them call you in when they have a job that they know you’d like to help with. Perhaps you love gardening, so when it comes time to do the landscaping, they call you in; not because they need you, but because you get to participate when you want to. If it’s fun for you, of course you get to help. This isn’t the same as you running in there and pretending you know better; it’s not you trying to control everything; it’s you stepping in and saying “What can I do?” and then getting to play. This kind of action is fun for you, not stressful.
Using action to align energy
Ok, so here’s the bit I haven’t talked very much about: In the above scenario, action is the result of alignment. You get yourself lined up with what you want, and then it comes about. If any of the action that’s required involves a component that you would enjoy, you can be inspired to participate. So, the more aligned you are, the more likely it is that you’ll be inspired to awesome action.
Why do you need to take action at all? Well, you don’t NEED to, but we often want to. Human beings generally like to get in there and get their hands dirty. We like to play, to participate, to get energy moving with our bodies. It feels really good, especially when there’s not a lot of resistance.
But, while action is an expression of energy (inspired action is an expression of aligned energy, fear based action is an expression of resistance), it is also possible to reverse engineer the process. This means that we can start with the action and work our way backwards. If you do this right (and yes, there’s a right way to do it), it can be incredibly effective and even fun. After all, what’s the point if it’s not fun?
To put it simply: Taking action, the right kind of action, can actually help you get into alignment with what you want. Can you feel yourself getting excited? See, that’s you just itching to get involved. You love yourself some action; admit it.
Action is a tool
Here’s the basic idea: When you believe that a specific action will lead to you getting what you want, taking that action can help to foster the belief that you WILL get what you want, that you are in the process of getting it, and therefore actually result in you getting what you want. Let me give you an example:
Let’s say you want to lose weight. I know, it’s a subject NONE of you can relate to, but bear with me *snort*. You have a strong belief that exercise will help you to lose weight. You believe that it helps you to burn calories and it makes sense to your mind that this would perfectly support your weight reduction efforts. As a result of these beliefs, when you exercise, you actually feel emotionally better about your weight loss efforts. It’s easier for you to imagine yourself thin. It’s easier for you to believe that you are in the process of losing weight. Sitting on the couch and doing nothing doesn’t feel as good.
Now, I can hear your cranial wheels churning, “How the hell is this different from just getting off my ass and going to the gym to MAKE the weight fall off?” Your question is a valid one, sir. Notice, however, that 1.) I never said anything about torturing yourself at the gym and 2.) I’M NOT FINISHED. Please hold your outraged questions until the end of the presentation. Sheesh.
There are several keys to making this method of alignment work. Action can be a tool, just like visualization and meditation, which you can use to help you raise your vibration and feel better. It can also be used as crude hammer to smash your vibration to smithereens. The difference between the two applications is skill. In other words, action isn’t intrinsically good or bad. It’s how you use it that makes all the difference.
Get Your Skillz! Skillz Here!
Key Number 1: Focus on Feeling Good NOT on Making Something Happen
When you’re taking action to make something happen, your main goal is to force the thing you want to come to you. When you’re using action as a tool to get into alignment, your main goal is to feel better. This approach is imperative to making this method work for you. When you focus on feeling good, it changes which actions you’re willing to take.
Let’s get back to the example above: You believe that exercise will help you to lose weight, but torturing yourself at the gym doesn’t feel good. So, you’ll want to find some way to move and get your heart rate up (or whatever), but you won’t want to engage in any form of exercise that doesn’t feel good. That really narrows the options, especially if you’ve been taught that physical fitness is an exercise in humiliation and pain (Thank you, old school P.E. teachers!).
Key Number 2: Work Within Your Beliefs or Shift Them (and then work within them)
As you look for actions that truly feel good to you, you’ll almost certainly bump up against connected, limiting beliefs. In the above example, the connected belief is that exercise is generally not an enjoyable experience. In this case, you’ve come to a stalemate: You want to move your bodacious body, but doing so fills you with dread.
A fear based action approach would involve you just ignoring the second belief (that exercise sucks), and forcing yourself to do it anyway. I call this the “Tough Titties” approach. You know it doesn’t feel good, but you’re willing to do it anyway to get the rewards. This is also known as “No Pain, No Gain” and is responsible for more suffering than pretty much any other belief.
An alignment based approach would look at which belief is stronger and therefore less likely to be shifted, and then attempt to shift the “weaker” one. In this case, your belief that exercise leads to weight loss is probably more ingrained than the belief that it has to hurt. So, you could begin to assume that some form of exercise exists out there that actually feels good and is still effective. Armed with this assumption (an openness to finding the solution), you could then begin your search for such a form of exercise. As you did this, you’d want to remember that even the search must feel good. So, if your googling efforts started to feel frustrating, you’d want to back off and try again another day, all the while focusing on the idea that you WILL find what you are looking for (or rather, that it will find you). Even the searching is a form of action.
Key Number 3: Don’t Go Too Fast and Pay Attention
Once you find the solution you’re looking for, in this case, a form of exercise that feels good, is fun and still meets your criteria for weight loss (elevated heart rate, for example), you could then begin to actually engage in that action on a regular basis. As long as doing so makes you feel good, in other words, as long as taking that action helps you to believe that what you want is coming to you, keep it up. But as soon as some bad emotions sneak in, pay attention and back off a bit. You see, you may have a whole lot of negative beliefs about exercise, or weight loss, or ideas connected to weight loss. As you begin to align with what you want, those beliefs are going to pop up. You can’t just ignore them and power through them. Instead, if you want true, lasting results, you have to acknowledge how you really feel, and continue to either work within or shift those beliefs.
We all know people who have lost a lot of weight by sheer force of will and action. Hell, I’ve been there myself. I can be phenomenally disciplined when I want to be, and I never hesitated to sacrifice myself on the altar of my goals. The problem is that when you push through your discomfort again and again, when you just disregard all those beliefs that are popping up, you may well get some results (providing your belief that the actions you’re taking are going to get you those results is strong enough), but they will never last. This is why people who have achieved goals in this way can gain back all their weight or start smoking again, or lose all their success, as soon as something comes up and distracts them from their disciplined routine.
Because, while you can use action to help you align your beliefs, you can’t use action to obliterate them. Action is not the solution. It’s a tool, a mechanism, that helps you to do the energy work – and THAT is to keep aligning with the frequency of what you want, as evidenced by the way you feel. You can’t just use action to replace or get around the real work. Sorry, but no cigar.
When Napoleon Hill and other teachers recommend that you make a plan and take some action towards it every day, they are not telling you to go out and make it all happen. They are not telling you to get involved in the HOW. They are advising that you use action as a tool to help you feel better about your goal. This can be particularly valuable when it comes to large goals, really important goals near and dear to your heart, goals that have eluded you for a long time. Even Abraham have come up with a process by which you make a list of all the small actions you can take, and then take some everyday and check them off. This isn’t because the action is actually necessary for you to get what you want (the construction crew doesn’t need your help. Really.), but because taking some regular action can help you to feel better about your goal.
It all comes down to how you feel. It all comes down to alignment. It all comes down to energy. Whether you use visualization, vision boards, meditation, crystals, various jungle plants, or action to help you align with what you want, the main goal must always be the alignment. As long as you keep that in mind, as long as you make the energy part of this your highest priority, you will get what you want.
Challenge destroyed. Booyah.