Taking initiative - two words that can make a huge impact on your life and the lives of those you love

Taking initiative is essential for both survival and the enjoyment of life. Yes, it can be challenging at times. And, with that being the case, spending some time studying it can reap extraordinary rewards.

I'm 72 years old, and there have been many times in my life where I didn't take enough initiative. I paid a price. At times, a very dear price. That is why this article is so important to me.

Of course, there were other times like when I took over a bedding store to manage and raised the sales from $400,000 a year to over a million a year. Year after year after year. Taking initiative matters.

It is always best to begin by observing reality and facing the facts of whatever situation you find yourself in. Even if the facts are painful, you must still take initiative, and go above and beyond what is required of you.

Most people know there are no shortcuts to success in life. Without effort, nothing happens. But if you put your mind to it, and take action, it will be impossible to predict what you can accomplish. It makes all the difference in the world.

So, no matter what, always begin with reality, begin with the truth.

It is easy to kid yourself. That might be the biggest mistake a person can make. How often have you talked to someone who is kidding themselves about the situation they find themselves in? Painful to watch, isn't it?

Defining Initiative

Now, let's take a quick look at the dictionary definition of initiative.

  • Initiative is the ability to judge what needs to be done and to take action.

Simple, right? After all, there are only two components - judging and acting. Well, if it is so simple, why doesn't everyone do it? I can sum it up in two words...comfort zone. Everyone likes to stay in their comfort zone.

Many times it would be helpful to have one or more techniques to help us get going. Let's take a look at what we have available to us to help us when we know taking initiative is the right way to go.

Techniques To Make Taking Initiative Easier To Do

What is it you want to be, have, or do? After all, the purpose of life is to live. It's that simple. And to achieve it, you will need a growth mindset. You must believe you can grow and change. That you can go outside your comfort zone because that is where all growth lies.

You don't want to merely exist, do you? No. You want to live, to really live. So take a moment and ask yourself, what is it that needs to be done to make your life better? It will surely take a process, and possibly a lengthy process. But it has to start somewhere and here is as good a place to start as anywhere else and now is the time.

Again, what needs to be done? Isn't that what the first half of the definition says? Decide on what needs to be done.

Start with a list. Write down a few things that you want to become, have, or do. Once that is accomplished, I bet one of the items will stick out more than the others. Why not start with that one?

So you are done with the first step. The step of choosing a goal. Now you break the goal into steps. The smaller the step, the better. The further you break down the goal, the better. In fact, you want steps so small, you cannot fail. If a step intimidates you, break it into smaller steps. Insanely small is a good thing.

After doing the above, you might start thinking your goal is really possible. Possibly still improbable, but certainly possible.

You are taking initiative. That is a good thing.

What's next? Now you can start using the tools and techniques in the Motivational Toolbox on this website. In fact, you have already used one of the techniques. It is called "Small Steps." Sound familiar?

There are other techniques you can use. Perhaps, Visualization, The 5 Second Rule, Triggers, Timer, The Cookie Jar, and there are others to choose from.

After doing all the above, it would be a good idea to read the article on Commitment. The three individuals I mentioned earlier were all truly committed to their goals. You need to be committed as well.

Three Extreme Cases Of People Taking Initiative Not Staying In Their Comfort Zone

You might wonder why I chose extreme cases. It was to show you clearly what taking initiative and being highly motivated looks like. Consider where these three individuals started and who they turned themselves into.

  • Michael Jordan - Possibly the greatest basketball player of all time. He was kicked off his high school team because the coach did not feel he was good enough. Michael could have given up. He didn't. He took initiative and practiced harder than ever before. Even when he was one of the greatest players of all time, he was still one of the first in before practice and the last to leave after practice. In other words, he stayed motivated, taking the initiative to keep getting better.
  • David Goggins - David Goggins is considered by many the toughest man on the planet. But at one time he was 300 lbs and his job was spraying for cockroaches. He saw Navy Seals on television and decided to become one. He had to lose of 100 lbs. He did. He also ended up having to go through three hell-weeks. And there is so much more. You owe it to yourself to do some research. He is an amazing individual with outstanding initiative.
  • Elon Musk - This is another amazing story. He founded and is CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. He came over from South Africa, alone, at the age of 17. He came to America, got two degrees, one in Physics and the other in Economics. He co-founded PayPal, sold it. Started SpaceX and eventually Tesla. His initiative is truly outstanding. How in the world  does he do it?

Where would the above three individuals be if they hadn't taken the initiative to follow their dreams? What if they hadn't taken a look at what needed to be done to accomplish so much and then taken the necessary action. The world would be a poorer place, in so many ways.

You might say there is no way you could accomplish as much as those people listed above. That's probably true. They are remarkable. But that is not the issue. The issue is you have no idea what heights you could reach if you try, by taking initiative and putting forth the effort.

Here is a video of Mark Cuban talking about taking initiative and making effort. Warning: there is a little cussing.

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