If knowledge is power, then execution is the king. What good will come to you by just learning and knowing, without wielding the self-discipline and integrity to follow through with the right actions?
They say knowledge is power and that knowledge is king. But here’s the thing; what good is it just to know things without putting that knowledge to good use through your actions?
Too many times, most of us already know what we should be doing in order to achieve the things we want. It’s not the lack of knowledge that separates us from these things, but more so the physical and mental anchors that we create which hold us down from initiating action. Without execution, seeking and obtaining pure knowledge is not going to progress you any further from your neighbour who remains an ignorant being oblivious to the world and its fruitful offerings.
Our generation is suffering from an obesity problem not because we don’t know how to eat healthier and lose weight. In fact, those who are prone to being obese know all too well what exactly they are doing – or aren’t doing – that has led them to being overweight in the first place. Those who have a drug addiction know exactly what they need to do to begin a drug-free rehabilitation and who to seek help from, yet our battle with drug overdoses increases by the day. The real problem isn’t in their lack of knowledge; the real problem lies in knowing yet doing absolutely nothing about it.
With the abundance of information about there these days, it’s almost impossible not to know a little something about everything in just a few seconds of searching the internet. Whether you want to be more financially driven, economically aware, eat healthier and look better, practice humility, learn to be more patient – there is enough information and How-To guides out there to equip you with all the right information you need to become a seasoned expert, if not more. Whether it’s a new skill you are wanting to adopt, a behavioural or habitual change, a new lifestyle, an achievement or milestone you want to reach or a different person entirely that you want to become, the difficulty is not in obtaining the information itself but in executing the right course of actions on a daily and consistent basis to fulfill the shoes of that person you want to become or that accomplishment you want to achieve.
Converting knowledge into actions is not the difficult part. It’s the commitment and the adherence to continually doing so after the first step. It’s the stark reality of admitting to yourself that once you’ve taken that first step, there’s no going back. There’s no hiding under the assumption of ‘you didn’t know where to start’ or the fear of beginning. It’s admitting to yourself that once you’ve started, you either succumb to its challenges and give up, or you grit your teeth and push through and through no matter what. And it’s the terrifying commitment of the latter that paralyses most people; that fear of failing after consciously trying.
Let’s picture this. Some say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Some say 30 days. Whatever the number truly may be – and it will highly be dependent on each individual – let’s embrace the fact that a habit can be formed after a certain number of weeks. By forming this new habit creates the notion that we are implementing something new in our lives every day for those X amount of days. It could be something small and mundane like remembering to floss before bedtime every night. It could be getting up half an hour earlier to go for a run around the block in the morning before you start your day. Or making a home-cooked meal as opposed to relying on eating out every night. The bigger the lifestyle change, the harder it will be for you to continuously implement this into your life as the days pass by. After the 7th day, the person who commits to flossing their teeth before bedtime will still find it easier to do so on the 8th day compared to the person who has committed to waking up an hour earlier.
This is called mental exhaustion and is the most reason why adherence to consistent execution is so grueling. This is the huge reason why so many people begin a new lifestyle change and start off incredibly strong, only for things to wean off after several days. The biggest punch in the gut is not in the inconsistency, but in the acknowledgement of failure. What happens to the person who gives up after the 8th day of trying to implement a new change? They throw their attempts in the bin and revert back to their old ways. Give it enough time and depending on their willpower, they might give it another shot. Only this time, they’ve already conjured up the pre-conceived notion in their mind that they have already once failed, so their second attempt is already flawed before they have even started. They enter their second life-transformation journey with a small voice of doubt in their head that rings with the echoes of their first failed attempt.
This is why most new habits and lifestyle changes aren’t successfully created nor implemented. We enter Day 1, guns blazing, ready to put all of our knowledge into execution. We want to see this through to the end, to come out a different person and become someone different to who we are today.
But time is the true test for every competitor; for most of us start off strong but few of us rarely ever make it to the finish line. And this is why some of us would prefer to be ignorant over being wild-eyed and ambitious, because it hurts less to admit that starting the journey is too difficult than to start the marathon and realise after a few steps in that there is no gas left in your tank to take you through to the end.
But here’s the thing. Within the grueling length of the marathon, there is no failure. As long as you are still on the track and haven’t hung up your boots and thrown your hands up in surrender, as long as you are still figuring out how to move forward and how to hold yourself up through these uncertainties, you’ll reach the finish line eventually. There is no failure if you keep on pushing through. You just need to initiate the execution.