I’m sitting here looking at Blackburn Mountain and the Staircase ice falls – one of the biggest ice falls in the world – and I was reminded of all the hard things I’ve experienced on mountaineering trips and how amazing it felt to achieve our goals…or sometimes, to even have just survived.
And that inspired me to talk about massive action vs passive action and how that all relates to commitment.
First, a few brief definitions – massive action is keeping on taking action until you achieve your goal. No matter what. And massive action also produces a result – it’s not just thinking about something, for example.
With passive action, you’re doing something but not creating a result. So, you might be reading or learning or studying – which feels really good. It’s like you’re doing something, but not in a massive action sense because you haven’t created a result.
So another way to compare the two is massive action is creating and passive action is consuming…taking IN information, or consuming your own thoughts about something (aka “thinking” about it).
As some of you know, I used to be an international climbing guide, taking people up mountains in the Himalayas and all over the world – actually climbing not just hiking.
When you’re going up a mountain, massive action is relatively easy to take, because the circumstances sort of force you to do it. For example, you have to get to the top, because the descent starts there and to retreat from where you are would be totally unsafe or take four times as long. So even though you’re scared, or your knees are bleeding and bruised, or you can’t feel your hands, feet, or your face because it’s so cold, you keep going.
But even in that scenario, our mindset plays a huge role.
You know what my climbing partners would say about me? I love climbing with you because you know how to suffer. Translation: when it comes to climbing, I know how to do hard things. Without whining or wondering why it’s happening the whole time. With climbing, I don’t get lost in how hard things are. I know these things are a PART of climbing, a part of achieving the goal. I just see what has to happen and I do it. I know the suffering is usually worth it (well, those are the thoughts I have about it).
On a climb, I’m committed, and the end being in sight – or the consequences of not making it being clear – make committing and taking massive action easier for me.
Many of you have likely had this experience too. Like having a baby (I used to be a midwife, so I know the courage it takes no matter how that baby comes out). You’re committed to the end result
Or on a more day-to-day level you can see it when you work for someone and you show up for work even if you don’t want to. You are committed to the work.
But in our lives, especially as we create more freedom and do things like become our own boss or starting making our OWN plans and not just let others decide our lives for us, we are the ones who have to create that sense of commitment to the goal. It’s not as in-your-face as a mountain, and the end is not always in sight.
If we don’t show up for ourselves, often it’s not as consequential as…getting fired,
But notice: isn’t it interesting that we are willing to work so hard for other people’s dreams and be committed to working every day for them…but for our own dreams we can be so…wishy washy?
How many of you want to have more freedom in your life – financial freedom, freedom from our emotions that hook us, to be location independent, to create your own schedule?
That would be awesome, right?
Here’s an important thing to remember: Wanting is a form passive action.
The definition of wanting is: “to desire something, to wish for something” NO ACTION REQUIRED.
This makes it easier, familiar, comfortable – and more preferred by our reptilian brain motivated by that motivational triad of seeking pleasure, avoiding pain and doing what’s easier.
But all wanting does is create more DESIRE to create what you want – not the actual result of what you want. So just wanting creates a bigger and bigger gap between what you want and what you have.
More DESIRE for something that you’re not willing to GO GET.
Conversely, the definition of commitment is, “to follow through on a course of ACTION.” This is very different from wanting and other passive action. With commitment, “action” is in the definition.
COMMITMENT is where you go from WANTING it (passive) to GETTING it via ACTIONS that produce RESULTS (masive action).
Let’s say you want to earn $100K this year, or to go on a round the world trip, or do a 3-month meditation retreat or a yoga teacher training – no matter how much we lament about how hard we’re already working or how desperately we want it, if we’re not taking ACTION that produces RESULTS, it’s passive action.
So I want to ask you again, a bit differently: When it comes to creating freedom, are you just wanting it? Or are you taking action, every day, to get it?
And are you committed to the end? For the long haul?
We often do so much to get towards something and then give up…right before the chips are going to fall and i’ts like watching it you’re thinking OMG all you hve to do is ONE more step and then the chips are yours!
But we give up because often we expect it to be easier or faster.
I don’t want you to worry about feeling excited or happy or joyful. Or a big one I hear a lot from my clients is they want to feel motivated before doing something. Like the reason they’re not taking action is “I’m not motivated to do it.”
Motivated is NOT what you wait for to get shit done.
I want you to think about how you can feel COMMITTED, because while taking massive action can feel tiring, not achieving your goal is its own kind of exhaustion
And remember that this doesn’t just apply to more “tangible” goals like a house or a job, to be more fit, or an income level or stamps in your passport – but it can also be applied to spiritual goals – like more patience, more compassion, more kindness, to finally FORGIVE. Because there are things we can DO – actions we can TAKE to move towards those goals too, like a regular meditation practice. Retreats. Tong Len practice. Self-coaching (one of the many things I teach in Freedom School). It’s not just thinking about growing spiritually and wishing it. We need to practice. THAT’s how we create results.
This episode will teach you how to not wait to feel motivated or wait until it feels “good.”
We walk about feeling COMMITTED.
Topics in this episode:
// The subtle differences between massive and passive action
// Sneaky ways you’re likely engaging in passive action
// The importance of commitment in being able to take repeated action – and how to feel it
// Long-haul vs short-term commitment
// 4 things you can do to avoid passive action
// One question you can ask yourself to keep yourself out of confusion and into taking action every day towards your goals.
// Check out episode 61 on perfectionist procrastination
// If you’re new to the squad, grab the starter kit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll get access to the private Facebook group where you can ask me questions! Once you join, there’s also a weekly FB live called Wake the F*ck Up Wednesday, where you can ask questions that come up as you do this work – in all parts of your life.
// If you’re interested in finding out more about how to free your mind and free your life, join Freedom School. Enrollment is open, and we are diving DEEP into ways to cultivate clarity and courage so you can create your best life. There are also some sweet bonus courses for you there. It will set you up to live the best version of you in the year to come. Learn more at JoinFreedomSchool.com