Today I want to discuss the importance of seeking to express ourselves through actions and not through words.
Acta Non Verba
“Acta Non Verba” is a Latin phrase that translates to “Deeds, Not Words.” The phrase highlights the superiority of actions over words when dealing with personal struggles or the completion of tasks.
For example, if we want to learn a skill, we have to study. If we say “I’m going to learn this skill,” without following this declaration with action, then we’ll become disappointed as our narrative fails to match our reality.
Therefore, action makes our ideas and our words real. In order to influence the physical world, we have to act upon it not merely discuss our intentions. Words without action are meaningless and misguided at best, dishonest at worst.
Most people discuss what they would like to do or where they want to be. A friend may comment on how they would love to go to the gym. A family member may talk about their desire to learn a new language. Everyone talks about their dreams and hopes, but when they need to act upon these hopes and dreams, they are, of course, hesitant.
We talk about what we want, especially with others, because we wish to acknowledge our desires. Words and narratives are powerful, and the very vocalization of our wants can make them seem real. However, the words fade away, and we’re left with the reality that we are no step closer to reaching our goals. Unless we act.
Discussing our plans is not the same as acting upon them. Thus, we have to see past our words and start looking at the value of our actions.
Why We Talk But Rarely Do
The biggest reason, in my humble opinion, why people talk but rarely do, is they lack a firm sense of purpose. Bob may have a thought such as “I want to learn how to play basketball.” However, Bob lacks the self-knowledge to understand “why” he wants to play basketball. Without this “why” he loses motivation when learning the finer points of the game become too involved.
Additionally, many people lack the “how.” They don’t know “how” to make something a reality. How will it happen? What do I have to do? Where do I start? The question of “how” is related to understanding the importance of creating a plan, so we have a path to walk on.
Lastly, most people are externally motivated. Let’s take Bob. Bob vocalizes his desire to be a basketball player to impress the people around him. However, once Bob has to put in the grueling work, he fails to succeed and readily gives up. He’s not internally motivated or self-going.
When we wish to accomplish a goal, we have to act towards that goal even when no one is there to cheer us on. And there rarely will be. Therefore, we talk about our goals in order to impress others with our potential.
Communicating a goal allows us to imagine we’re doing something. However, the only way to accomplish anything is to act upon our desires to succeed at the goals we set.
How To Put Your Deeds Before Your Words
Understand your life’s purpose – What do you want to do with your life? Your life goals are important because they frame all of your actions. When you understand what you’re meant to do, you can better plan your years, months, and days.
Additionally, you can stay motivated even in the face of difficulty. For example, if you experience financial trouble, you can confidently slow down on your life’s goal and focus on resolving your financial situation responsibly. Once you’ve succeeded at improving your finances, you can go back to your life goal in earnest without a decrease in motivation.
Once we understand the “why” behind every action, we can judge what we’re doing and become more productive.
Develop self-motivation – Self-motivation is all about understanding your “why” but also about developing your willpower. To build willpower, you have to establish healthier habits that provide you with more energy. Additionally, strengthening emotional stability helps with preserving self-motivation.
Accept pain and discomfort – This is a hard one for many people. To live a life worth living, we have to accept pain and discomfort. Character growth is painful because our comfort zone is being undermined and conquered. However, pain is a reality of positive, productive action the empowers you to become a better individual. Accept this reality now in order to maximize your results.
Track your activities for the day – Journaling, keeping a list of tasks, or recording your efforts for the day will help you analyze what you’re doing correctly. When we list our activities, we can compare how our daily projects feed into our life goals.
Additionally, the tracking of daily tasks helps one become more aware of when we are acting on our goals or simply talking about them.
Work smarter – In order to avoid burnout, we have to ensure we’re working smart. By working smarter, we’ll reserve more energy and avoid feeling dissatisfied with our efforts. Additionally, by working smarter, we have more free time, so we can sufficiently relax, and enjoy the fruits of our labor.
Deeds, Not Words
Our speech is powerful and essential. However, great conversational skills will only get us so far. There comes a time when we have to roll up our sleeves and get to work with a laser-like focus.
Action requires sacrifice – the sacrifice of comfort, ease, and short-term pleasure. However, through this sacrifice, we will build a legacy that will stand the test of time.
Let’s get to work.
- What’s a goal you want to act upon more? Cleaning the house? Studying a skill? Exercise?
- Are there people in your life who talk more than they do? What about their behavior do you notice in yourself?
- Do you understand your life’s purpose? How does this understanding influence your daily goals?
- What’s one thing you say you’re going to do but never get around to doing it? Why do you talk a mean game but fail to deliver?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.