It is James’ 3rd birthday, and he has a wonderfully delicious cake sitting in front of him. On top of that cake resides 3 burning candles, one representing each year. The group surrounding him sings happy birthday, and James makes a wish. After making his wish, James closes his eyes and decides to blow out all 3 of the candles. How many candles remain burning?
You may be quick to answer that no candles are left burning. The story clearly states that James decided to blow out all 3 candles. However, if you said that no candles were left burning, you’d be wrong. In fact, when we left the story, all 3 candles were still burning as brightly as they ever had been.
Confused? Let me explain. James only “decided” to blow out all 3 candles. The story states nothing of him actually doing so. In order to make that decision (passive) into a reality, James must act on that decision. He must fill his lungs with air, take aim, and blow the candles out. Deciding to do something does not mean that that the action will inevitably follow.
Too often we get caught up in making grandiose goals and decisions to do something in life, only to find that these intentions never come to fruition. Why? It is because we go through the exercise of thinking about the intention (which is, in itself an important thing to do), but we do not follow that up with any action. Want to be a millionaire? Want to lose 30 pounds of fat and gain 10 of muscle? Do you want to be the President? What are you doing today to further you to that goal? What actions can you take and carry out (in the the short and long term) in order to achieve your goal.
Act on your intentions. Failure to do so will result in a lack of progress, and ultimately a self defeating pattern. Alternately, taking action and fulfilling your intentions, regardless of how small, will result in a virtuous cycle that builds not only your self confidence, but also your ability to achieve and take on even larger goals with vicious momentum.
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