There are few truer quotes than “actions speak louder than words.” You can talk all you want, you can make promises, but until you follow through with those promises, no one is going to put much stock in your words. As Henrik Ibsen says, a single action will always leave a greater impact, positive or negative, than even a thousand words.
Stay accountable to your words
This is important advice to keep in mind when you are at work. If someone asks you to do something, and you say you will, that’s the first step. The second step is doing it. The impression you leave if you don’t will be far greater than anything you can say as an excuse. In the same way, taking action can have a big impact. Whether you help someone with their project, or do a little extra work rather than sucking up to the boss, those actions speak louder than tooting your own horn.
It’s also a reminder that any deed, no matter how small, can have a dramatic effect. Don’t shrug off small things because they seem inconsequential. Take time to do the little tasks, and to do them well. Each one of those tiny things leaves a greater impression than a bunch of words. Become a person of action and you’ll see the benefits quickly.
When we look up to our heroes, be they comic book heroes, celebrities, family or friends, we give them attributes like courage, valor and fearlessness. We come to expect them to take on every challenge without hesitation or fear. We idolize these people because, while we wish we could have these attributes ourselves, we doubt that we do.
We think that because we are afraid of things, we couldn’t be called fearless. This quote from Taylor Swift gives that thought the boot. As Taylor says, being fearless isn’t never being afraid, it’s feeling that fear and going headlong into something anyway.
The truth is, your heroes are the same. They feel fear, they get nervous and they worry they aren’t good enough. The reason they were able to overcome those nerves and that fear? They jumped straight at the thing that scared them.
So if you’re feeling afraid, don’t worry, everyone you look up to feels the same fears. The only question that remains is, will you be fearless in the way Taylor Swift points out, and face down the thing that’s making you afraid? Chances are you’ll be able to conquer your fear, and if you do, soon you may find people are looking up to you, and calling your fearless.
The good news is that you don’t have to get bit by a radioactive spider and turn into Spider-Man to have great power. We know you may not feel like you have a lot of sway at your current job, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the power to influence and change things at your workplace. The question is, will you take the famous advice of Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben and use your power for good, or will you just try to serve yourself?
It all starts with the right choices
From the moment you step into the workforce you’ll have a million choices to make. Everything from what your career path looks like, to how you choose to get there. Will you help others and give them credit, or will you take credit for yourself? It seems like the choice would be easy, but the options won’t always be so clear cut.
And don’t worry, Spider-Man didn’t find the choice easy all the time either. Sometimes the right thing to do isn’t obvious, and often the right thing to do is the harder of the options. Responsibility doesn’t mean always getting it right, but it does mean trying your best.
You may feel powerless at times, but even with a small amount of control, how you hold yourself and operate when you’re at the start of your career will often carry through and be how you operate when you’re the boss.
If you drive to work, you’ve no doubt experienced a little bit of road rage. Or maybe if you take the bus or walk, you’ve heard the horns blaring as people cut one another off and become furious at other drivers. If you’ve ever felt that particular rage, you know how quickly it can torpedo your day. In the midst of your commute to work, you might not think of Mother Teresa, but she has some wisdom for times like this.
Mother Teresa spoke about love and peace often. With this quote, she offers instruction on how we can find peace within ourselves, and offer it to others as well. It’s as easy as smiling. Smiling can make you feel better just by doing it. Seeing a smile on your face will also help others feel more positive.
Smiling is something Mother Teresa spoke about regularly. She has another quote about the affect a smile can have. She said “Peace begins with a smile.” Whether you’re facing friction with a coworker or getting a growing feeling of road rage, remember that showing your smile can help you find peace.
It’s not always that easy though. When someone cuts you off in traffic, the last thing you’re thinking of doing is smiling at the person. While it may not be your first reaction, finding a way to smile at these things will being you peace. After all there’s no telling how much good a simple smile can do.
A positive environment is the best thing you can give yourself to ensure success. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal knows this well. His advice to shut out the noise and focus on those who encourage you is smart. Just be careful you don’t take it too far.
Beware of tunnel vision
When we aim to listen only to those with positive things to say, it can end up that we only listen to those who agree with us. We want everyone to tell us how right we are, and how well we’re doing. This can lead to tunnel vision and a disregard for helpful thoughts. It can lead to us shutting out helpful and constructive advice because we disagree with it.
Encouragement comes in many forms, and from many people. Friends, family and colleagues can all offer a pat on the back, an encouraging word or a point in the right direction. What it really comes down to, and Gyllenhaal points this out, is what you let yourself listen to.
The negative stuff can be hard to shut out, because often we worry it’s true. It rarely is. Get rid of those who only have negative things to say, keep those who are filled with encouragement. Figuring out what is helpful and what is harmful can be tricky, but it’ll get easier the more you do it. Negativity has no place in your life, just make sure you don’t throw out constructive criticism at the same time.
In Star Wars Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker is stuck. His ship, an X-Wing, is sunk in the mud and he’s trying to get it out. Yoda is instructing him in the ways of the Force. It’s when Luke says he’ll try to use the Force to get the X-Wing unstuck that Yoda shares this wisdom with Luke.
The message is kind of harsh. “Give it a try” is common turn of phrase. But Yoda rebukes Luke for not having more confidence. To try is to see how it goes, to test the waters and see what’s possible. Yoda wants Luke to do away with the thought of trying, and to do something.
Trying, failing and giving up is not doing
When you think about it, there’s a deeper truth to what Yoda is saying. In all things, you either do them, or your don’t. Compare setting out to just try with setting out to do and do again until something is done. In trying, there is a suggestion that if you don’t attain your goal, oh well, you tried. When Yoda tells Luke that this is only do, or do not, he’s telling him that you either accomplish something or you don’t. Trying, failing and giving up is not doing. Trying, failing and trying again until you succeed, that’s doing something.
Yoda’s message is don’t be satisfied with an attempt. Keep on going until you have done what to set out to do.
We want you to succeed. We want you to do amazing things. To surpass all of your goals, but we want that for others as well. If you go through your career looking out for only yourself, you’re going to find it’s pretty lonely at the top. If you choose to step on others to get where you want to go, you’ll see that you have fewer and fewer friends willing to help you through the tough spots. Your other choice is to help others along the way
It’s easier to believe in yourself when someone else believes in you first
So today it’s your turn to help someone else out. In the movie Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams played a psychologist who attempted to connect with a young, under-achieving genius played by Matt Damon. Williams’ character, Sean Maguire, shares an important lesson for those looking to help others. Many people simply find it impossible to believe in themselves, until someone else shows belief in them first.
Small acts of encouragement make a huge difference
In Good Will Hunting, it is Sean Maguire’s belief in Will that allows Will to grow and mature. You can take his lesson and share it as well. Let your coworkers know that you believe in them. Give them an encouraging word and tell them you think they are right for the task at hand.
Sometimes, even this small action of encouragement can make a world of difference for someone who is feeling down on themselves.
When you’re on the city bus or stuck in your car on the freeway, it can be tough to think of the day as a beautiful one. You’re on your way to work after all. In U2’s song, Beautiful Day, they mention this feeling. “The traffic is stuck. And you’re not moving anywhere.” And yet, U2 implores us to make the most of each and every day.
Even Mondays can be beautiful
There is beauty in every single day, but sometimes it’s not easy to see. If you focus on the parts of your day that drive you nuts–like traffic or bothersome coworkers–chances are the beauty of the day will slip past you unnoticed. But if you take a moment and try to find the good in each day, you’ll find that each and every one of them–even Mondays–can be beautiful.
Maybe there is an opportunity to make a coworker smile, or maybe on your way home from work you’ll catch a glimpse of a multi-colored sky as the sun sets. It could be as simple as getting a hug from a friend.
Once a day is over, it’s gone. You can never get the time back. You have to ask yourself, do I want to spend this day focusing on the things I don’t like, or do I want to focus on all the stuff that makes this day beautiful? Follow U2’s advice, and take advantage of each and every day. Don’t let them get away.
What will happen if I reach out to the contact my friend supplied as a possible mentor? What if they don’t want to talk to me? Or they’re not the right fit and it’s a waste time for both of us? I’m not qualified to work with them. They’ll probably be angry about the imposition.
How many times have you let the things you worry about or the conversations you have in your head deter you from taking action?
You decide to wait a little longer while you think about possible outcomes some more. Tomorrow you promise yourself, you will take the first step.
The longer you wait the harder it is to take action
The problem with waiting until tomorrow is, you’ve established for yourself that it’s okay to wait. You waited one day and the sky didn’t fall. It won’t fall if you wait a little longer.
The sky might not fall, but gravity will definitely get stronger. The longer you wait the harder it becomes to move. Whatever reasons you had for holding back magnify because you haven’t done anything to provide evidence against them.
Don’t get stuck in the grips of inaction
What is the worst that can happen if you follow through with that contact? They can say no. At least you have an answer. And the sky still didn’t fall. You can try again with another person.
Or maybe they say yes and it really isn’t a good fit. So you can figure out why it wasn’t a good fit and use that to find a better fit next time.
Maybe the best will happen. They’ll be a great fit. You’ll learn tons from them and create a relationship with will benefit both of you in the future.
Don’t let yourself get stuck in the grips of inaction. Make a point of being the sort of person who strides ahead. Who takes action when an opportunity is presented. A step, even if it leads somewhere you don’t want to go takes you somewhere. From there you can plot a new course. Standing still takes you nowhere. Somewhere is better than nowhere.
Wouldn’t winning the lottery be nice? Who doesn’t sometimes daydream about how easy life would be and what they would buy with a couple million dollars. Or, forget the lottery, wouldn’t a quick promotion or a great inventive idea be helpful? Maybe you wish that book you’ve been working on would just write itself and become a bestseller! Is it too much to ask for a little luck now and again?
This particular quote is similar to another, “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” This quote is often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, though there isno mention of it in any of his writings.
Samuel Goldwyn, a pioneer of film andone of the people responsible for shooting the first movie in Hollywood. He’s the Goldwyn of the studio Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, or MGM, still producing movies today.
No matter who said it, or how they said it, the truth is that luck often comes from hard work. You can’t work hard at winning the lottery, but you can work hard at things you’re passionate about. Be it professional or personal, the best way to catch a break is to work hard for your goals. Sitting around and waiting for something great to happen is a guaranteed way to make sure you never get a lucky break. Even when it comes to the lottery, you have to buy a ticket to have even the smallest chance.
Don’t feel bad about daydreaming what you might spend the money on. Just make sure you follow up those dreams with dedication and hard work. The breaks will follow.