#1689 The Laws of Action

Here They Are, According to Phil Stutz…

In our last +1, we talked about Phil Stutz and his new book Lessons for Living: What Only Adversity Can Teach You.

As you may recall, we discussed wisdom from the VERY first words of the book as we took a quick look at the five truths of reality.

Here they are again…

#1: “Life includes pain and adversity.”
#2: “The future is uncertain.”
#3: “Accomplishment of any kind requires discipline.”
#4: “You are not special. No matter what you did, you cannot avoid these aspects of life.”
#5: “This will never change.”

Today I want to chat about Phil’s Laws of Action.

Let’s get straight to work.

Phil tells us: “If wisdom is out there, then the only way we can gain it is by taking action. The will is more intelligent than the process of thinking. Let’s say we’re planning to open a doughnut shop. We could spend hundreds of hours debating what percentage of the doughnuts should be chocolate and what percentage should be vanilla. If we take the action of opening the shop, we will learn more about how many of each flavor to make in one day than we could in a year of abstract thinking. The world of doughnut eaters will give us the information we need.”

He continues by saying: “To act in the face of the unknown brings up a primal fear in most of us. You can overcome this fear if you learn to look at action in a new way.”

That’s from a chapter called “Knowing by Doing.”

Phil and I have talked about that doughnut shop many times.

As I read that passage, I thought of my VERY first session with Phil on Friday, January 13, 2017.

In fact, I just reached over to the left corner of my desk where I keep my stack of most recent notes from my sessions with Phil. On the top of the stack I have a photocopy of the first page from that first session. (Want to see my notes from that first session? Check them out here.)

At the very top of the page, in huge, bold font, I wrote “ACTION.”

Below that I wrote “RULES OF ACTION.”

Then I wrote down Rule #1: “SPEED”—which just so happens to be tied for first as THE most important thing Phil has ever taught me AND the first principle he teaches us in this chapter.

In the book, he tells us: “Once you determine to do something, the less time you allow to elapse until you act, the better. A failed action, done quickly, will improve your confidence more than one done after great procrastination, even if it succeeds.”

In my notes, I wrote: “SPEED = Conceive → Action.” “DO IT NOW!” “Confidence erodes the longer you wait to take action!” “It’s possible to make an impact right now.” “Bias is to always make the call.”

(I got goosebumps typing that out feeling into the life-changing power of that wisdom.)

Below that section on “SPEED” I wrote a few other things, including the next principle Phil teaches in the book: “DENSITY.”

In the book, he says: “Dynamic people take more actions in one morning than most people take in a month. The goal is to take many more actions in a given time period than you normally do. Start slowly, try to take even just two actions in a day and increase from there.”

In my notes, at the bottom of the first page, I wrote: “DENSITY = Attitude toward time.” “Utmost, indescribably valuable. Gulp. Pack it in. Courage = Overflow of life.”

The final principle in Phil’s “philosophy of action” is a Nightly Review.

He tells us: “Reserve ten minutes before bed to review, in writing, the actions taken during the day and the ones you want to commit to for tomorrow. Anything written down becomes more serious, and you are less likely to lie to yourself about how much you’ve done.”

That reminds me of Pythagoras’s PM Review. I love that practice.


We architected the entire Heroic app to help you START your day with a clear set of targets and celebrate all your micro WINs all day every day.

Here’s to embracing the Laws of Action.

TODAY’s the day, Hero.


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