Thought vs. Action

“A thought which does not result in action is nothing much, and an action which does not proceed from a thought is nothing at all.” – Unknown

Remember the age-old saying: “a penny for your thoughts?” Thoughts have seldom been given much respect unless converted into decisive action forthwith. Why is that so, we may ask. The only plausible reason I could come up with relates to the lack of initiative in most of the so-called thinkers that have ready advice for everybody, everywhere on anything and everything. These ‘thinkers’ hardly ever gather the courage to act upon their own thoughts and advice.

While we all know and appreciate the age-old dictum: “Measure twice and cut once,” we fail to apply the same in real-life scenarios all the time. If I remember correctly, my maternal grandfather, my most valuable mentor that helped me build a strong foundation, always insisted that we most count till ten before responding to others’ views. No wonder I have noticed time and again how eager people are to present their own defenses even before one presenter has the opportunity to finish his/her statement.

Thoughts born out of careful analysis carry the necessary building blocks for actionable introspection whereas the ones blurted out at random tend to get lost in the milieu. Considering this logic, does it not make sense for us to always weigh our thoughts before sharing them out in the open? It could help us in ways more than one. Not only will such thoughts be ripe for follow-up action at the desired level but the inherent advantage we stand to derive out from such a practice will be nothing short of earned respect.

Sound thoughts, supported by proper analysis, will help us plan better as various angles can thus be covered before initiating action. Naturally, better planning leads to better execution! No wonder an action taken without proper planning will lack the cementing glue of a sound judgment and will likely fall apart before fruition.

Coming back to the above quote, we can see the benefit arising from such a valuable advice. However, not every thought demands immediate action. A case in point could be the construction of the tallest skyscraper in the world. No wonder its planning takes years after one individual thinks about undertaking such a challenging task. The thought-process sets in motion a chain of events that mobilize all the necessary resources, men, materials, machinery et al.

We may not see any action resulting from this thought for years, or even decades perhaps. But does that mean the thought went waste? Not necessarily! More monumental the thought, higher the level of intricacy involved in its execution and longer the time-frame.

On the other hand, an action taken without due thought-process will most likely bring us disappointing results. Imagine approaching the Board of Directors with a thoughtless presentation to win their trust for your new project. Do I need to explain? I do not think so!

There are examples galore where highly qualified individuals have committed the cardinal sin of proceeding with their whims and fancies to be ultimately beaten down like pulp. A ready example lies in the ambitious entry into the Canadian market by the Multi-billion Dollar retail giant ‘Target.’

If only they had gone through a deep-rooted analysis before putting their thoughts into action, the company could have saved well over two billion dollars that it squandered away in a snap and went from an investors’ darling to a pariah. I guess someone somewhere, with enough influence to railroad cautionary advisors, had his/her way and gambled away a huge opportunity that it had on a platter. So much for action without a thought!

Whether it is the domestic scene or our kids’ schooling related issues, small business challenge or a Mega-merger, the process of thoughtful diligence gets the cake, always. Each one of us gets to have a number of demanding situations in our daily life where actions need thoughts and also some others where our simple thoughts lead to some amazing action and bring about unimaginable changes in how we live.

There are situations where our minor oversight leads to a certain setback that we could just wave away with the back of your hand. On the contrary, there are also situations where an unintentional, almost careless (or should I say thoughtless) action puts us into an embarrassing situation in front of others. How would you relate to the two scenarios, if not regretfully?

So long as we appreciate the significance of controlling our thoughts, honing them precisely enough to lead us to constructive pursuits and sharing only what we can back up with justifiable analysis, we can look forward to a growing network of like-minded individuals. Like-mindedness will lead to better environment both at home and work and help us live a more fulfilling life, full of joy, contentment, and respect.


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