There is a common mistake that often happens to smart people — in many cases, without you ever realizing it.
The mistake has to do with the difference between being in motion and taking action. They sound similar, but they’re not the same.
Motion vs. Action
Motion is when you’re busy doing something, but that task will never produce an outcome by itself. Action, on the other hand, is the type of behavior that will get you a result.
Here are some examples…
If I outline 20 ideas for articles I want to write, that’s motion. If I actually write and publish an article, that’s action.
If I email 10 new leads for my business and start conversations with them, that’s motion. If they actually buy something and turn into a customer, that’s action.
If I search for a better diet plan and read a few books on the topic, that’s motion. If I actually eat a healthy meal, that’s action.
If I go to the gym and ask about getting a personal trainer, that’s motion. If I actually step under the bar and start squatting, that’s action.
If I study for a test or prepare for a research project, that’s motion. If I actually take the test or write my research paper, that’s action.
Sometimes motion is good because it allows you to prepare and strategize and learn. But motion will never — by itself — lead to the result you are looking to achieve.
It doesn’t matter how many times you go talk to the personal trainer, that motion will never get you in shape. Only the action of working out will get you the result you’re looking to achieve.
Why People Find Themselves in Motion
Sometimes we do it because we actually need to plan or learn more. But more often than not, we do it because motion allows us to feel like we’re making progress without running the risk of failure. Most of us are experts at avoiding criticism. It doesn’t feel good to fail or to be judged publicly, so we tend to avoid situations where that might happen.
And that’s the biggest reason why you slip into motion rather than taking action: you want to delay failure.
Motion makes you feel like you’re getting things done. But really, you’re just preparing to get something done. And when preparation becomes a form of procrastination, you need to change something.
Never mistake activity for achievement.
Written By James Clear