Regret or habit?

So yesterday I was thinking. What makes the difference is people's life when it comes to success, fulfillment and impact? It's a big question, so I thought big thoughts. At the time I was thinking, I saw some guys working on the streets repaving the sidewalk. "Damn he's working hard." I thought to myself. Then it hit me. Well it didn't really hit me but this insight re-emerges like once a month so thought I would share it today. While I was thinking about impact, he was making an impact. He took action, and things started to happen. He probably was also thinking on some level, but it wasn't just thinking. So how come we in general - and by we I mean I - think too much and take to little action?


The big gorilla in the room is of course fear. Fear is always the one thing that's stopping you from taking action. Fear of failing. Fear of success. Fear of rejection. Doesn't matter, the perceived pain of doing is bigger than the potential reward. So how do we change this? Well, the simplest way is to make the pain smaller and the pleasure bigger. It's simple, but not easy. Because we are not wired for pleasure. It's hard for use to enjoy pleasure, and that's why it takes us so much effort in the first place compared to pain. Pain, whether real or imagined, is always there. It's part of our survival mechanism. It's there to protect ourselves from harm paradoxically. Because when we do want to take action it feels uncomfortable, and when we don't take action we have our regrets. Different pains for different things, but not really pleasant either way. 


I remember a line from Tony Robbins: "There are too kinds of pains when it comes to taking action: The pain of regret or the pain of discipline." Now I agree for most parts, because the pain of regret will always be there when you don't take action. But discipline is a fickle friend. It might work for you, but for most people it doesn't. Discipline is too hard and too firm for my taste. But I do love habits. Habits are sort of the same but not entirely. Where in my mind discipline depends on your willpower to get something done, habit relies on selective willpower to get momentum started. Once the flow is there, you only need a little input to keep it going. Every time I do something out of will power, I will inevitably fail at one point. When habit is at play, it's much more enjoyable and will last me longer. Sure I also fail at my habits sometimes, but at least I don't feel bad about it and can restart quite easily. So start a habit. But don't start thinking too much about it, just do it.