Source of Action

July 29, 2012

“Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Firefighter RememberedHave you ever considered the areas where you are most prone to act? How about when you see someone asking for change by the side of the road? How about when you see someone with a flat tire? For a time when I worked downtown, I caught myself avoiding the pan-handlers. After a while, though, I felt like a coward. I wasn’t making a difference; I was simply reacting. Once I committed to act every time I had the opportunity, the fear went away and I began to notice people and find ways to make a difference. And that difference expanded beyond the people who were asking for handouts, to my coworkers and my family too.

When you feel responsible for something, you are more likely to act on that responsibility. But don’t be fooled, being responsible is a commitment. Thinking about a problem, working on a problem, “taking a stab at” a problem or “giving a try” are all significantly different than accepting responsibility for a problem. Look at your life carefully. Are there areas where you consistently fail to act? Judge yourself honestly today.

In the book The Noticer, by Andy Andrews, the main character, Jones said, “Have you ever considered how often we judge ourselves by our intentions while we judge others by their actions? I intention without action is an insult to those who expect the best from you. ‘I intended to bring you flowers, but I didn’t.'” Intent without action is an insult. Our best always lies on the other side of action. Thoughts and intentions won’t get it.

So back to the question; where do you consistently give yourself a pass? Can you think of one? What will you do with that information?

Leaders act. Leaders see a problem and take responsibility. On whose behalf are you ready to act? Is it your family, or your neighbors, or your team? What about the poor or the neglected people around us? What about taking responsibility for some part of improving the quality of life in your community? Do you believe you can make a difference at that level? Or, what about the future… the next generation of leaders? Are you taking action about the problems you see in our world or are you just complaining about them? Where do you draw the line when it comes to taking action?

If you began or renewed a commitment to be more responsible and act, take the first step now and make a note in the comments. It won’t kill you. And who knows, you’ll probably make a difference to someone else.

Photo CC by Puzzler4879 on Flickr

2 responses to Source of Action

    Kim Ledbetter July 30, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    Great article. I have thought about this topic quite a bit recently. In fact my question has been “Are good intentions good enough?” When applying this to my coworkers (and my kids) I tend to let them get away with ‘mediocre’ work and not say anything about it because I would assume, like myself, they had the best of intentions.

    I do judge myself by my actions… at least, I do at work. At home, I’m sure I let my intentions justify plenty that doesn’t get done.

    But Thank you for giving me another perspective. And I now have an answer to my question… No. Good intentions are not good enough. Action is also required. Inspiration is required to get people to WANT to take responsibility for problems.



    One of the areas I endeavor to take more responsibility is in my Christian faith. As I grow more I realize it is not a one time growth, but I have to take responsibility everyday so that I will always continue to grow.

    Thank you for your blog. It always pushes me to be a better person, man, husband, father, son and most importantly Christian.

    God Bless You!