I’ve devoted a chapter of my book, Becoming a Sun, to Taking Action. Of course, Taking Action isn’t a virtue in your life unless it is an intelligent action. There are so many factors that have to align in our human experience for any action to be productive. And still, act we must if we are to lead a happy and fulfilling life.
I’m inspired by these words from Shakespeare. They speak to the need for timely action:
There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
That was Brutus in Julius Caesar. He was considering the fate of the Roman Empire. But for things large and small in a human life, timely action is the difference between success and failure.
The impulse to act is a fickle thing. I have found this writing songs. In an off moment, a tune comes into my mind. Not a whole song, just a little one-line melody. Walking down the street, it just wanders in! Maybe I give it a whistle. But soon, I’m on to other things. And sometimes it doesn’t come back.
On another day, I hear a tune and I run into the house. I sit down at the piano and work out the notes. I write it down on staff paper. Or into my music notation program. There it is – not only the little tune I first whistled, but the whole song behind it! The verses, the chorus and the bridge. Words and music, and finally the accompaniment.
So when I lose a little tune that has slipped in and out of my mind, I wonder, What else have I lost?
Steven Spielberg says this about the inspiration to act:
When you have a dream, it often doesn’t come at you screaming… Sometimes a dream almost whispers. The hardest thing to listen to – your instincts, your human personal intuition – always whispers, it never shouts. Very hard to hear. You have to, every day of your lives, be ready to hear what whispers in your ear. It very rarely shouts.
The creative urge has been called a still, small voice. Taking your own creative urge seriously enough to act on it separates you from the mediocre and the unexciting. It confirms that you are a creator. It makes a statement to the world – and to yourself – about the unique being that is you.
I just returned from Norway, England and Wales, and then British Columbia, Canada. I followed my own creative urge to meet people around the world and give my gift. To be honest, I’m not really the kind of person who seeks travel in his life. In many ways, I’m a homebody at heart. But I listen to the urge within me. And so I find myself traveling the world.
I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to know that I’ve made a difference in another person’s life. When I see someone with a smile on the face at the end of the workshop and I know they’ve experienced something they never have before, it’s all worth it.
I believe that taking action on the creative urge within us is a habit. It is a muscle to be exercised, which grows over time as we work it. And when we develop the habit of acting on the creative urge within us, we feed our heart and soul in a way that no one else can for us. It impacts our psyche. We are valuing who we are and what we have to give to the world.
So how about you? What is the still small voice that is calling you to act now? What is the tide that has come in for you? What is the dream that you are called to live today?