Deceitful Practice

Action and Motion

Apr 29, 2023ยท

5 min read


Is this you? Waking up in the morning and listening to a bunch of podcasts or browsing through your Twitter feeds, then reciting your morning affirmations for 30 minutes before doing your important tasks.

Well, I used to be like that, choking up my morning with tons of routines before doing the actual work, only to feel like I had accomplished a lot for the day, and become lazy and unmotivated because, yes! I just conquered my morning!

But now I know better. I know that being able to do my tasks is the reason why I do the morning routines, so why not just do my work as the morning routine? Fast forward to watching all the billionaire routine videos on YouTube, I now only drink a cup of water and meditate before starting off whatever is on my calendar or to do.


I wish today's Unsolicited article was on morning routines, but it isn't.

However, I want to draw out something from my behavior that I think can teach people a thing about growth. When I used to do a lot of morning routines, I thought I was being productive, I was moving about, I was being busy, I was in motion. But I wasn't doing the effective things that would have driven my goals forward, I had the distance, I had the motion, but I did not put in the force( effective actions) to create work or progress.

Work is calculated as force * distance, and most humans pay more attention to distance than to force, they think just doing something translates into doing something meaningful for them.

Every step taken on the wrong ladder only gets us to the wrong place faster.

Being busy is not being productive, and to really see a difference, you need to sit down and constantly reflect if whatever you are doing is relevant to your goals.

You don't have to scrape all activities and hobbies not relevant to your goals, in fact, this can help you in the long run, but to really effective, you must spend more time taking action than just moving about.

Need for Speed

It is as easy to mistake an unripe plantain for a banana as it is easy to mistake motion for action. Left to me, I say we live in delirious times.

Founders are more interested in tweeting than selling, politicians are more interested in events than capitalizing on promises, religious people are also more interested in ranting about doctrines than showing them, and developers are more interested in tutorials than building software.

We are not totally consciously at fault for this, at least our minds are also a culprit.
Taking action is hard, and when we rant about taking action instead of doing it, the mind tends to think we have already done the work, to spare it from the tediousness of action.

This robs us of our experience and will inevitably cause regret when we find out that in spite of all our motions, we carried out a negligible amount of action to advance success.

That's why the Africans say " To do a lot, speak little", if you must talk, talk after or during the action, not before it.

Apart from the obvious fact that taking action first will bring success and progress, another overlooked reason is that taking action with little to no talk limits your need for validation, it becomes easier to do something first without wasting time, when we only have our demands for action to satisfy.

For some reason, we tell people about our dreams and aspirations to hear if people think it's worthwhile or if we can achieve them.
Stop doing that! No one will ever know your worth better than you.


The last issue of Unsolicited and this are somewhat alike, the difference is that this piece focuses on how we deceive ourselves that we are taking action and the last article is on how we wait for perfection before taking action.

So permit me to borrow some methods here.

First of all, I recommend two books "Eat the Frog" and "7 Habits of highly effective people".
Then, change your mindset from planning a lot before taking action as you can easily deceive yourself, and take action almost immediately after planning for the first stage of action. You have an idea to start going to the gym, start doing some push-ups today in preparation for the gym tomorrow. Your default should be action.

Finally, Whenever you have a goal, look for the central metric of that goal and do it. A central metric is the most important piece of action you do to bring progress to a goal.

For instance, an early-stage founder shouldn't be too concerned about hosting a job fair within 2 months of the startup. Rather, they should be concerned about getting more customers and making more sales.

Also, the central metric of a goal can change due to time and changes in context. So it is possible for a specific action to have the biggest impact, and after a change in circumstance, it becomes irrelevant. To cope with this, you simply have to constantly reflect on getting better.

Nota bene:

It has been a joy writing Unsolicited, as it has given me an opportunity to express the thoughts that go on in my head and I hope to still keep writing it.

But I am at a stage where I have so much on my plate and cannot keep up at this pace. As a result, I will be releasing a piece of Unsolicited only once a month for the foreseeable future, preferably on the last Saturday of the month.

Be rest assured, it will be as intriguing and insightful, and even better.

Thanks for hanging around ๐Ÿ’—.