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Published on June 19, 2020

Motion vs Action: Which One Is More Important for Success?

Motion vs Action: Which One Is More Important for Success?

Like all things in life, success doesn’t have one finite answer that fits all. Success rises and falls like the tide, but if we can understand what impacts our ability to succeed, we can achieve more and stay on track. Learning about motion vs action is one crucial aspect of this.

Both motion and action play a role in our success, and the importance of each depends on the person and the situation.

We’re going to take a look at how motion and action affect the results and outcomes and how we can use both to our advantage.

Motion Vs Action

These two terms are deeply connected yet contain important distinctions. Being in motion means that you are moving, but not necessarily in a specific direction. Maybe you are planning or strategizing or scheduling, preparing to take steps toward success.

Taking action means that you are taking concrete steps towards you goals[1]. This includes acting on all those things you planned during the “motion” stage. Because of this, action is often the direct road to success, but can we have action without motion?

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Why Action Often Leads Directly to Success

In my work, I’ve helped thousands to go from average to exceptional results. In many cases, the most important aspect was action, not motion. In fact, motion, in many of these cases, was the problem, not the solution.

Motion is about something moving around. My favourite visual way to showcase this is this:

I place a pen or a glass on the table and say, “See this pen, I’m going to pick this pen up.” I then pick the pen up. That’s action.

I then fold my hands and look at the item and say, “Now I’m not going to pick up this pen.” And I stand there looking at the glass or pen. Just for good measure, I add “Notice how I’m not picking up the pen?”

“I’m now going to try and pick up this pen.” I then push the pen around with my whole hand, knocking against it, using lots of energy, but I never actually do the action that led to picking up the pen in the first instance. When you are in motion, you use a lot of energy but rarely aim at any specific result.

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I love this analogy for summing up how we often keep ourselves stuck in situations and results we don’t want by “moving” in a way that isn’t helpful. When you can see that, you have to work out how to alter your motions into the actions you need to get the results you want.

I often hear this with business owners. Business is a good place to see that no matter what you have achieved, you still have to move forward. You can’t do what you always did and get the same results. Business trends, customers needs, and even social and economic beliefs can impact your business, so you have to constantly adapt and progress. As a result, a business owner can feel like no matter what they do, it’s not enough.

Action includes planned and structured steps, whereas motion only includes planning and structuring. Action allows you to remain highly focused and accountable to your results so you can get there faster. Always be prepared to monitor what you are doing so you can see how this process effects your results.

When Motion Is More Important

We started this article by saying that whether you use action or motion really depends on the person and situation. In practice, sometimes motion that is what we need. It may not be obvious, but Covid-19 times are a great example of this.

We have all been experiencing something similar during the pandemic, but we get vastly different experiences and perceptions depending on whether we use action or motion. Notice how some people have gone through the motions, using the time to plan and strategize, and ultimately coming out less stressed, while others have attempted action in a time when restrictions make action nearly impossible.

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Sometimes going through the motions is the best thing to do. If you’ve suffered something extremely sad or heartbreaking in your life, you will know that in the early days just getting up and brushing your teeth is a miracle. You feel like you will never feel happy again. That is the time for motion, for planning, for considering, not for action.

People often phone me to ask if coaching would be right for them, and sometimes I tell them that right now they need a friend, someone to listen, not a coach. When life is really tough, unexplainable, or out of control, the last thing you want or need is action.

When to Use Motion and Action Together

Most situations call for both motion and action. Imagine that you are unhappy in your job and want to find another. For this to happen, you’ll have to start with motion. You’ll need to plan what kind of jobs you want to apply for and spend a great deal of time considering what skills you have that will allow you to enter a new career.

Once this is done, you’ll need to bring in action. This is when you’ll build more skills (if necessary), apply for jobs, and go to interviews. You may even find that you have to return to motion if your actions aren’t getting you the results you need.

Sometimes, simply getting started and doing something is what is needed. This is motion. Once you get moving and find some motivation, then you can move on to creating specific actions that will lead you to success.

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If you add action to the right motions, you then get the results you want. Even if you didn’t get the job or the contract by applying the correct action, you are able to learn from the experience and grow. Motion and action can work together if used correctly.

Final Thoughts

Motion and action will always be best if they work in partnership with each other. When doing this, monitoring the quality of the results is imperative so that no matter what, you are propelled forward. Everything must move, otherwise it stagnates. Don’t be a stagnant pond; be the free flowing river always moving toward the successes you want in life.

More Tips on Turning Motion Into Action

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Mandie Holgate

Coach, International BEST Selling Author, Speaker & Blogger helping thousands around the world.

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Last Updated on September 24, 2020

How to Take Advantage of the 80 20 Rule to Succeed in Life

How to Take Advantage of the 80 20 Rule to Succeed in Life

The world of productivity has several hacks or tricks to help you manage your time: to-do lists, the Pomodoro Technique, Parkinson’s Law… All of these strategies are great strategies in their own way, but one strategy stands above all the others: the 80 20 rule.

This particular strategy has been used the most and is regarded as the most helpful in developing time management and other concepts in life.

But what’s so special about this rule? How does it give you success and how do you use it? Let’s explore the specifics.

What Is the 80 20 Rule?

Many people regard this rule as the 80 20 rule, but it has a proper name: the Pareto Principle[1]. The principle was named after its founder,  the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, in 1895. Pareto noticed that people in society were divided into two categories:

  • The “vital few,” which consisted of the top 20 percent with respect to money and influence.
  • The “trivial many,” otherwise known as the bottom 80 percent.

As he researched this further, he came to discover that this divide didn’t apply only to money and influence, but other areas, too. Virtually all economic activity was subject to his previous observation.

He observed that 80% of Italy’s wealth at the time was controlled by only 20% of the population.

Since the development of this rule, humankind has used this particular ratio in all kinds of situations. Even if the ratio isn’t always exact, we see this rule applied in many industries and in life. Examples are:

  • 20% of sales reps will generate 80% of your total sales.
  • 20% of customers account for 80% of total profits.
  • 80% of the revenue will stem from 20% of the workers.

Either way, I’m sure you can piece together why people call this rule the 80 20 rule over Pareto’s Principle[2].

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Make Your Life and Your Business More Efficient with the 80-20 Rule - Salesforce Canada Blog

    In terms of how this particular rule will be able to work for you, it’s a matter of applying this rule to how you spend your time. For us to see success, the goal is simple.

    We need to set it up in such a way that 20% of our input is responsible for 80% of our results.

    Another way to think about it is we use 20% of our time on activities that give us 80% of our results in a given area of life.

    How Does the 80 20 Rule Work?

    To best explain this, let’s visualize a bit.

    In an ideal world:

    • Every employee would contribute the same amount of effort to work.
    • Every feature that’s released for an app or product would be equally loved by users.
    • Each business idea you come up with would be a hit.

    In that scenario, planning would be a breeze. There wouldn’t be any need to analyze anything so long as you put in the effort.

    But that’s not reality.

    Yes, the effort is certainly an element, but what the 80 20 principle states is that everything is unequal. Invest in 10 start-up companies, and you’ll find only a few will pass year two and make it big. You’re in a team of five, and there’ll be one person doing more work than others.

    We wish our lives were always one-for-one in terms of input and output, but that’s simply not true. Understanding this is key to understanding how the 80 20 rule really works.

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    So how does it really work?

    It’s a matter of focusing on what’s giving you the most in your life for little of your time.

    Going back to the few examples I’ve presented above, consider this:

    • If two start-ups you invested in are making it big, focus on having a more direct hand, and see if you can help them prosper more.
    • If 20% of sales reps are giving you 80% of your sales, focus on rewarding those and keeping their spirits high and motivated.

    These scenarios can go on and on, but the idea is to place your efforts on the 20% that is actually making the difference in your life. Another term that’s good to know is the diminishing marginal utility[3].

    Pareto didn’t come up with this one, but the law goes as follows: each extra hour of effort or worker will add less “oomph” to your finished results.

    Eventually, you’ll hit a point where you will spend a lot of time on small and unimportant details, similar to perfectionism.

    So before hitting that point, you want to have a laser focus on the most important details, from family and relationships to your work or business. Prioritize the activities that are going to move you forward the most, and be wary of adding extra time, effort, or more hands into those particular tasks moving forward.

    How to Take Advantage of the 80 20 Rule

    So now that you have an understanding of the 80 20 rule and how it works, what is the best way to take advantage of it?

    Depending on where you are applying this rule, this can be used in all kinds of fashions.

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    For example, you can apply this rule to goal setting, as demonstrated by Brian Tracy in this video:

    Or you can apply it in terms of general productivity as explained in this article: What Is the 80 20 Rule (And How to Use It to Boost Productivity)

    The core of this rule is that it forces us to ask ourselves the questions we wouldn’t consider otherwise. It helps us to place our focus in the right places with regards to all things in life.

    In short, the 80 20 rule places us in charge of our lives and helps us set out on our goals and dreams. With this in mind, here are some things you can consider concerning this rule.

    1. Focus on Your Big Tasks First

    While this is the essence of the 80 20 rule, it’s still worth mentioning. Why? Because so many of us feel intimidated by the biggest task. We instinctively avoid it and opt for smaller tasks first.

    We think that if we complete enough small tasks that we will feel motivated to finish that really big one later. But that’s really false hope at work.

    Once we finish off a lot of small tasks, we either feel drained, or we tell ourselves we’ll do this the next day.

    Instead of doing all that, bite the bullet and tackle the largest task first.

    If you need help with prioritization, check out this article.

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    I argue this by challenging you to ask yourself this one question:

    “Is the task I’m about to do the top 20 percent of my activities or the bottom 80 percent?”

    I’m sure you’ve seen time and again you or other workers spending a lot of time on one task for most of the day. In those kinds of grinds, you’re barely getting ahead and have next to nothing to show for it. That’s because they’re putting all their attention on work that’s in the 80 percent.

    It’s normally the big tasks that are part of the 20 percent.

    Another way to think about this is that everything we do starts a habit. If every day we spend our energy on low-value tasks, we will always prioritize those.

    2. Stretch This Into Personal Life

    While I’ve been talking about business and setting goals, remember you can use this in other areas of your life, too.

    Take your personal life and ask yourself some of these questions:

    • How much TV do you watch on a regular basis? What sort of shows are you legitimately into? These questions can help you in recognizing what shows you are watching purely for consumption. By applying the 80 20 rule, you can cut back on Netflix, TV, or YouTube video consumption and prioritize other areas of your life.
    • What does your wardrobe look like in terms of colors? Are there specific colors that you like? Knowing what you wear most times will help you in sorting out your wardrobe significantly. It also saves you time to come up with what to wear every morning.
    • How many newsletters do you actually read? This question can help you in figuring out which newsletters to unsubscribe to and can clear up a lot of space in your inbox. It can also relieve pressure from having to check your emails constantly.
    • How much time do you spend on your phone every day? How much of that time is actually doing something meaningful? These questions can help you in clearing out various apps that aren’t helping you with your goals. In fact, this can curb the need to check your phone constantly.

    Final Thoughts

    The 80 20 rule is the productivity hack that many of us need, and for good reason. As you can tell, it’ll help you to focus and prioritize the more important aspects of your life.

    Not only that, but it’ll maximize those outputs at the same time and ensure you’re not spending too much time working on them. All you need to do is start asking questions and taking action.

    More Techniques to Help You Succeed in Life

    Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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