Updated: Nov 24, 2020
When it comes to thinking about “taking action” most people envision a physical act. The physical notion of taking action is so baked into us that we unconsciously default to it. We think about what we have to “do” to achieve a goal, rather than thinking about who have to become or what we might need to “undo” to be happy.
In the beginning years of learning how to manifest the things I wanted, my life was full of overt action: I wrote my goals and intentions down, often verbally affirmed out loud what I wanted, and cut out beautiful pictorial representations of my goals and tacked them on a vision board. All these actions worked.
However, when it came to me changing how I saw myself, what I believed, and how I reacted in the face of fear, my manifesting skill alone did not get the job done. I needed to learn how to change the nature of my thoughts and reactions. There is a big difference between manifesting things and transforming our lives. The crucial difference between the two lies in the kind of action we must take. The “actions” necessary for transformation are not easily discerned. Transformation requires thinking new thoughts, mentally monitoring our behavior, seeing ourselves more objectively, and recognizing our unconscious patterns. These are subtle internal actions. There’s no big physical effort involved. In our Never-Let-Them-See-You-Sweat society, you don’t see the masses flocking towards the “opportunity” to self-assess and reconstruct themselves. This is because we are not taught that to achieve happiness we must internally change.
The definition of transformation means to change the condition, form, character, or nature of something. This takes effort and human beings in large measure don’t like to change. The surviving self – the part of us that has the task of making sure we stay alive, by either fighting, out running, or freezing in the face of danger – feels safest and most in control when surrounded by what it already knows, believes, or understands. To change means subjecting oneself to the kind of uncomfortable, scary, and unknown feelings that make people run instead. And when you consider that the kind of actions required are often not seen as actions at all, transformation becomes an even trickier endeavor. Yet, objectively observing ourselves, catching sight of our patterns, shifting the tone and historical content of our thinking, consistently taking note of our internal choices and making new ones when something doesn’t feel right, and setting an internal intention to feel and believe differently are deliberate, crucial actions that transform our lives. Up until recently, these kinds of efforts have not been recognized as the powerful “action taking” that they are. But from this point forward, developing these more subtle action taking skills must become as familiar and engaged as physical actions. In the 21st Century, the most valuable leaders in any community, whether in the workplace or at home, will be people who are emotionally congruous, resilient, self-affirmed, and empathetic. These people will be skilled at both knowing how to manifest their dreams and transform their lives. Tina Lifford plays Aunt Vi on the critically acclaimed television show, Queen Sugar. The Little Book of Big Lies: A Journey Into Inner Fitness is her first book; released by Harper Collins, November 2019, and is full of the kind of internal “actions” that will transform your thinking and your life. You can also join her at a workout in her Inner Fitness Studio to practice strengthening your wellbeing and making it actionable in your day to day life.