Life rewards action, not intelligence

“Life rewards action, not intelligence.

Many brilliant people talk themselves out of getting started, and being smart doesn’t help very much without the courage to act.

You can’t win if you’re not in the game.”

– James Clear

How often did it happen to you that you had a brilliant idea but never really followed up?

How often did you analyze that idea from different angles, discovering obstacles and potential road blockers, summing up to a huge dark cloud which swallowed the idea entirely? Sounds familiar?

We often place a high value on intelligence, arguing that the smarter you are, the more likely you are to succeed. Yet, the renowned author and speaker James Clear, challenges this conventional wisdom with his powerful quote, “Life rewards action, not intelligence.”

Too often, highly intelligent individuals are immobilized by their fear of taking risks or their desire for perfect planning. They spend time analyzing situations from every angle, and in the process, they fail to take the first important step. They become victims of ‘analysis paralysis,’ leaving their potential unrealized.

Clear’s words remind us of the importance of taking action, regardless of our intelligence. Intelligence may provide us with the tools to devise an effective plan, but action is what brings that plan to life. It’s the spark that ignites the engine of progress and pushes us toward success. Without action, the most well-thought-out strategy remains an unrealized dream.

Ultimately, it all comes down to one simple truth: “You can’t win if you’re not in the game.” So, let’s muster the courage to act, make mistakes, learn, and grow. Because life doesn’t reward us for what we know but for what we do.

We are all wonderful, beautiful wrecks

Here’s a quote from Emilio Estevez, an American actor:

We are all wonderful, beautiful wrecks. That’s what connects us – that we’re all broken, all beautifully imperfect.

Emilio Estevez

Isn’t that a beautiful statement? And there is so much truth in it.

Look at all those Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram accounts. So many beautiful and successful people, living perfect lives. But do you really believe all those lives are perfect? Certainly not. Everyone is fighting some battles with different daemons somewhere. Everyone has some trouble, insecurity, frustration, sadness somewhere and we are so busy pretending we do not, so busy painting the illusion of a perfect life.

We live in a world of illusions, where everyone tries to present themselves as perfectly as possible on social media. We strive to create an image of our lives that looks better than they really are, so much so that we often forget the truth behind it all. From perfectly filtered pictures and videos, and carefully curated posts to highlighting only the best parts of our day-to-day lives – it’s easy to get caught up in this false reality. But beneath the glossy surface lies a different story – one filled with struggles, pain, and imperfections hidden by these online facades.

But why are we doing this? We all want to be accepted and validated by others, so we often strive to present ourselves in the best possible light. We put up a facade of perfection to fit society’s standards and expectations, but still, underneath this glossy surface lies a different story – one filled with struggles, pain, and imperfections hidden by these online facades.

And with this behavior, we are making it even worse since we contribute to the illusion of our society’s standard. We are lifting that false standard even higher by playing along.

Wouldn’t it be better to accept ourselves as we are? Wouldn’t it be better to stand up to our flaws and imperfections? Wouldn’t we feel free and light then? Wouldn’t we be able to concentrate on the real problems in this world instead of being busy pretending what we are not?

Wouldn’t we? All it takes is some courage. Don’t you think?

We are all wonderful, beautiful wrecks. That’s what connects us – that we’re all broken, all beautifully imperfect.

Always go a little further into the Water

There is a quote supposedly from David Bowie, which goes like this:

“If you feel safe in the area that you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth, and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”

– David Bowie

You probably might have seen the picture with a circle labeled “Comfort Zone” and another label outside that circle, which said, “Progress happens here.” The same message, just packed differently.

And this couldn’t be more true. Thinking back to the bigger jumps in my career and entire life, all those jumps started with me leaving my comfort zone. There is not a single success I achieved while sitting in my comfort zone, not a single one. Realizing this is eye-opening and clearly defines the direction forward.

The point is, if you are staying in your comfort zone, you will keep doing things as you always did, and you are just hoping that you’ll get a different result this time, but you won’t. I probably don’t need to quote Einstein’s definition of insanity.

In addition, you know how to do things in your comfort zone. You know what to expect, you know how to behave. How will you ever learn something new there? If you don’t leave your comfort zone, no progress can happen.

So, if you want to make real progress in life and career, go a little further than what is comfortable for you. Go a little deeper into the water. Leave the safety of your comfort zone and dive into the unknown waters of growth and opportunities. You might not know where it leads, but the journey will be worth it. Who knows, you might even make some fantastic discoveries along the way!