Thursday, February 09, 2006

Find a Way to Get What You Want

Magic of Thinking Big

David J. Schwatrz

Chapter 10 – Get the Action Habit


There is a shortage of top-flight, expertly qualified persons to fill key positions (pg 165)” is how this chapter begins. This chapter will be arguing that the most missing component of good workers is the ability to get things done.

The author states that “everything in this world…is just an idea acted on. The premise of this statement is that ideas must come to action to be useful.

The author again asks us to look at ‘successful’ and ‘average’ people. He calls attention to a trait where by the ‘successful’ people are active and are called ‘activists’ while ‘unsuccessful’ are passive and are called ‘passivationists’. The author calls us to categorize these people (pg 166):

Activists get things done, whether it be a vacation, going to church, getting notes passed on, starting a business, in short, activists do things. Passivationists, on the other hand, also agree that these are all good things, but he finds a way out of them. The reason listed is that the passivationists wait until everything is 100% perfect before they begin things and that is not possible to achieve.

The author gives a few case studies. The first details a man who is not married but wants to be. This person wanted everything to be so perfect that he wrote up a contract detailing all aspects of the marriage. Obviously, he is not married. (A passivationist) (Pg 167-8)

The next case study covers a man who really wants to get a new house, but does not know how to find the extra money. He really wants it because other people his age are getting new homes and there is no reason that he can not as well. He cuts the budget and goes to get extra work to afford his new home. (An activist) (Pg 168-9)

The final case study here talked about a man who had landed a comfortable job, but wants something more. He had the knowledge and experience to start his own business, but he kept having set backs including new children, lack of money, restrictions, etc. (A passivationist) (Pg 169-70)

The author lists two steps to acting without perfect conditions (Pg 170):

  1. Expect future obstacles and difficulties. Although you plan and prepare, you expect difficulties to arise.
  2. Meet problems and obstacles as they rise. When the above difficulties arise, handle them.

Since this chapter focuses on activity, it merits a discussion on ideas, since those are the substance of the action. The author lists two thoughts for the reader (Pg 171):

  1. Give your ideas value by acting on them.
  2. Act on your ideas to gain peace of mind.

You can see how this chapter relates to Chapter 3 in that action will cure the fears of a major step you want to take.

Here are some other suggestions the author gives to develop the habit of action:

  1. Use a mechanical way to accomplish simple but sometimes unpleasant business and household chores.” (Pg 174) This is to do something instead of think how much you don’t want to do anything.
  2. Now is the magic word for success. Tomorrow, next week, later, sometime, someday often as not are synonyms for the failure word, never.” (Pg 175)
  3. Get the ‘Speak up’ habit.” (Pg 177) You will gain strength every time you speak up in a meeting where your opinions are asked for.
  4. Tell yourself, ‘I’m in condition right now to begin. I can’t gain a thing by putting it off. I’ll use the ‘get ready’ time and energy to get going instead’” (Pg 178)
  5. Be a crusader. When you see something that you believe ought to be done, pick up the ball and run.” (Pg 179)

Christian Response

With regards to this chapter, I will place in the forefront that action is certainly the mechanism of work. This is certainly a biblical truth frequently found in Proverbs. My objection with this chapter is the pragmatic approach and the love for worldly success. With that in mind, here are the objections I have to the practical wisdom given in this chapter.

First, I have already responded in a previous post to comparing ourselves to others, as this chapter teaches. Here is what I wrote regarding Chapter 4:

When the author is talking about assets and comparing your assets to that of someone else, I was reminded of a passage of scripture. This is from the Book of John, 21:20-22

Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?"
So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, "Lord, and what about this man?"

22Jesus said to him, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!"

In this passage, Peter is questioning Jesus about the life of John. You can read the response to that question above. We must remember that each person has his own gifts from God; we don’t need to compare ourselves to anyone else for anything at all.

Next, regarding the advice to act and figure out how to make things work, I will remind you that to follow God, you should be content with your needs (1 Timothy 6:8), not running around trying to get another house or car because other people your age have them. That is not wise living.

I would encourage everyone that to follow the teachings of this book will lead you down a path of destruction. To seek after worldly things often leads to sin (1 Timothy 6:10). I wish to save you much grief, not because I want to see you fail, but because I want to see you holy. There is nothing wrong with a good job, and you should be doing the very best that you can do on that job. There is also nothing wrong with getting excess money in that, nor is there anything wrong with buying things for yourself, but there is something wrong with loving things of this world and trying to endear yourself to pragmatic approaches to get all you want. It is not about our life here, but God who is beyond this life, and when we have a goal to get all sorts of toys for ourselves, it may be a reflection of our hearts.


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