Will Rogers once said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”  Knowledge is only useful when put into action.  You can’t just sit there and wait for your ship to come in you’ve got to swim out to it before the pier rots.

We can learn a lot about action by looking at insects.  Consider the bee.  It will make visits to 125 clover heads to make one gram of honey.  That comes to about 25,000 trips for bees to make only one pound of honey.  Ants are admirable creatures as well. They’re not concerned about their stature but go about their diligent, tireless work of storing up food for their colony.

Lillian Vernon, who’s been a friend of mine over the years, was a 24-year-old newlywed seeking some extra income for her family when she spent $2,000 of her wedding money on an advertisement in Seventeen magazine, promoting monogrammed handbags and belts.  The orders came, business grew, and today her mail-order catalog company, Lillian Vernon Corporation, has annual sales of $240 million and ships 50,000 orders daily during its peak holiday season.

You don’t have to be famous or the CEO of a large corporation to have an idea and act on it.

One of the best lines on the silver screen about the importance of action came from Yoda, the Jedi Knight trainer in the Star Wars sequel, The Empire Strikes Back.  While tacking Luke Skywalker about the power of the Force, Yoda says, “Do or do not, there is no try.”

Here’s a scenario you might recognize at your workplace:

There once were four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.  An important job had to be done, and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.  Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.  Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job.  Everybody thought Anybody could do it and that Somebody would do it.  But Nobody realized that Everybody thought Somebody would do it.  It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

Be somebody who makes things happen.  How? In the words of Nike, “Just do it.”

Mackay’s Moral: Ideas without action are like being all dressed up with no place to go.

About the author Harvey Mackay

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.

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