I've been very blessed in life because I've never been
afraid to take action. Often it turns out poorly or painfully and I have
to deal with consequences, but I would much prefer to deal with those than
to sit around doing nothing. Passivity has been around forever, but it seems
to have become much more predominant in a culture in which we expect to be
entertained and informed by the mass media and actors and athletes, fed by
restaurants and an ever-increasing amount of ready-to-serve, microwavable
meals, served by the people who run stores and want our return business.
We're fortunate to live in the United States, one of the few countries in
the world where taking a risk is valued, but if we're going to get anything
out of life, we have to be among those who take the risks, not those who
watch others do so. I can truly say that the positive aspects of who I am
have come about because I've been willing to take risks and be hurt, while
those negative parts of me are still there because I'm afraid to face them,
and I'd rather be passive than act to change them.
I meet many people who seem to be unwilling or unable to take
action, no matter how unpleasant their current situation. They're
completely dissatisfied with the way things are, yet they're unwilling to
do anything to change their situations. Most of them are unwilling
to risk their "security," for their incomes are more important
to them than their quality of life. Yet we hear over and over again
that if we're truly to get what we want out of life, we have to take
action. We have to do something, and we can't do it halfway--we must
take the risk.
It's somewhat ironic that many people who refuse to act are
forced into positions in which they must act, either by layoffs, the death
or departure of a spouse, or other changes. Usually, these people
get by quite well, and many of them actually thrive, for they're finally
in a position in which they have to depend upon themselves, in which they
have to act, to be assertive in getting what they want out of life.
They have to act, and they have to act today--it's a position most people
don't want to find themselves in, but in which many people find
themselves--find out who they are and what they're capable of.
Longfellow said it well: "Act, act in the living
present." Right now is all we have, isn't it? And we
can't sit around waiting for life to happen to us--I learned long
ago that that is not the way things work. Actions give us
results to work with, and actions.