How to develop effortless action

productivity Feb 17, 2024
How to develop effortless action

Too many people these days spend too much effort on things in general. They spend so much energy that the next thing they need to do becomes lackluster in general. But, what if I told you that you could do things not only with the appropriate amount of energy but with a lot less than you need? Today, we'll be talking about how to develop effortless action.

The steps we'll be effortlessly touching on are:

  • Take more action
  • See what you want
  • Stop overthinking

Who should develop effortless action?

Everybody should aim to develop effortless action. The benefits are monumental and worthwhile to pursue. Even if you don't think you're spending too much energy on your tasks, it's still worth it to lower your energy expenditure in this regard.

Take more action

Once upon a time, in a Canadian high school, I had exams. And I was up to my limits in my notes. I was jamming as much information as I could. Unfortunately, not everything stuck but I still passed, so it's all good. The only exam I excelled at was physics in grade 11. The difference? I had done a lot of practice problems for physics, whereas the others I didn't.

In the wise words of Shia Lebeouf, "DO IT! JUST DO IT!" Even with these words of encouragement, many people still opt to let their dreams be dreams.

The first step to develop effortless action is to take more action. It sounds self-explanatory, but is worth mentioning.

Far too many people opt to stay back from the chaos. They don't want to dive in before they feel ready to handle whatever comes their way.

However, this is a flawed premise. They believe they'll know when they are ready before they've even tried making one attempt.

To truly know if you're ready or not, either you practice or you attempt. There is no in-between in this regard and too many people cope that there is.

To develop effortless action, you must first know what you need to learn.

By taking more action in general, you will mess up more. And by messing up more, you will then know where you fall short.

If you never know what you need to improve, you will never get to the point where you can do it without thinking in the moment. The first step to figuring this out is to take more action

See what you want to know what action to take

Have you ever wandered aimlessly? As in, you just wandered around without an end goal in mind? I did that once in college. We were having a quiz on a topic that I didn't understand at all. Instead of just leaving, I played with my pencil for the entirety of the quiz and stayed for the lesson. I learned later that I didn't want to be there, but I also didn't want to roll out of class in the middle of the quiz.

It's one thing to take action, it's another to take action that has meaning for you. Unfortunately, a lot of people are taking action that holds no meaning for them.

To find action that is meaningful to you, you must first know what you want to do. You need to sort through and set your priorities so you know which comes where.

To properly set your priorities, you need to sit down with yourself and be honest. Be honest about what truly matters to you and stick to it.

When I was in college, I hadn't chosen to prioritize peace over public image. The result was that I got neither until I chose to drop out, which gave me peace.

To develop effortless action, you need to set for yourself just how important each thing you want is to you. List out each one in a loose list with no order to it.

Then, reorganize the list in order of most to least important. By doing this exercise, you'll find that you've been neglecting the things that you prioritize in favor of other things that aren't so important to you.

Effortless action is anchored on there being a natural flow from you to the activity. If the activity isn't important to you, then there is no flow.

Optimize your journey toward natural flow by knowing what you want to flow toward. Only then will the path become clear for you.

Stop overthinking and overcomplicating

So many times in the past I've overthought things. The time when I did my first confession, the time when I had to figure out how to haul my instrument and my backpack to school, or all the times I wanted to weasel my way out of a three-hour lecture from my dad. I put way too much thought into these things when all I needed was one coherent strategy for each.

To make action effortless, we of course need the effortless part. We will be taking this part literally, as in having less effort.

The more thought you put into anything, the less effortless it becomes. Therefore, we need to increase our efficiency and stop thinking so much.

This is one of the reasons why knowing what we want is important. When we know what we want, we can figure out the most coherent strategy for us at the time.

The one you come up with may not be perfect, but we aren't aiming for perfect. We are aiming to reduce our workload.

Effortless action requires you to spend less time thinking and more time doing. We already discussed the part of doing more, so let's cover thinking less.

Those who overthink do so for one reason: they are thinking too outwardly. They value external validation way more than they do internal validation and try to control it.

The opinion of someone else holds more sway over them than their own and as a result, they stifle their opinions. Changing this is simple, but not easy.

Put simply, we need to be a little more selfish. We need to realize that there is a healthy level of toxicity and most people are not at that level.

If you can't communicate what you want, how is someone else supposed to know what it is? If you don't value what you want, how is someone else supposed to value it? 

To have that natural flow to your actions, you need to know the value of what you want and put that above what they want. It's up to you to value what you want, and up to them to value what they want.

This doesn't mean you should never consider what others want. This is simply saying that what you want should have at least equal consideration.

Effortless action revolves around understanding that the only thing you can control is yourself. By coming to terms with this fact, you will begin to prioritize yourself and focus more on what you can control.

Natural flow is a process

The journey I took to develop natural flow took a while. It was a somewhat tedious process, but worth every step of the way.

By embracing the tedium of altering your thought process, you too will pick up this important skill. The irony of the effort it takes to develop effortless action is not lost on me.

By following these three steps, the process will involve a little less effort. Put in enough time, and you'll ge there eventually.

- Karl