Carl Mays: "There is no happiness without action"

Mar. 27, 2014 @ 11:01 PM

"They got on a 12-point run and turned this game around,” might be a phrase you have heard during the ongoing NCAA basketball tournament games. You’ve also probably heard something like, “They’re on a 13-2 run.” Even a casual basketball fan knows the first phrase means one team has scored 12 straight points while the other team has gone scoreless. The second phrase means one team has scored 13 points while the other team has scored two.

These “runs” result from what we may call bursts of motivation and energy. Such bursts occur when participants make plays that lift their teams. You can see the positive evidence of these bursts on the faces and in the body language of the “on-a-run” team. You can see the negative evidence on the faces and in the body language of the other team. The same comparison is evidenced in the teams’ fans.

If the teams are rather evenly matched, then a series of opposing runs may occur. That’s why during a timeout you may hear a coach say something like, “We knew there would be several runs in this game. We’ve just got to keep our composure, play our game and turn it up a notch. Our runs will come when we do what we know we can do.” The coach may go on to say that he or she has discussed and prepared the team for such challenging times.

So it is in life. We get on runs, are energized and enthusiastic about things. But at times it may seem like everyone else is on a run while we are standing around watching – similar to a game announcer describing the not-on-a-run team with something like, “They’re just standing around now on offense, waiting for someone to do something.”

Whenever we are not energized and motivated to do what we know we should do, that’s the time to really do something positive. Two of the most quoted statements from my “A Strategy For Winning” book are, “It happens in the mind before it happens in the body” and “Those who can see the invisible can do the impossible.” Add to these statements, “Action leads to motivation.” In other words, things can’t just remain in your mind; they can’t just remain invisible.” When being “outrun,” we must do something positive, which will lead to other positives.

Sometimes we are going to fail. At times, people are going to take advantage of us. Occasionally, people are going to disappoint us. We are going to disappoint ourselves and maybe get down on ourselves. We are going to encounter good reasons why we should give up on something and just chunk it all. These are the times we need to think right, recapture our purpose, preparation and knowhow in order to turn the tide and start a “run.”

If needed tasks appear intimidating, do something to get them started. No matter how small, just do something, and then some small something else, and then... well, you get the idea. You don’t have to attempt to accomplish everything at once. Keep in mind, “It’s hard by the yard but a cinch by the inch.”

If you’re on a run now, don’t take it for granted. Do take time to think about what ignited this run. Brand in your mind the purpose, passion, preparation, attitude and actions that got your “run” going.

Consider these ideas as you watch the NCAA tournament games and see how the actions and non-actions of participants mirror your actions and non-actions in everyday life. All the while, keep in mind the words of renowned psychologist William James (1842-1910): “Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”

© 2014 by Carl Mays, National Speakers Association Hall of Fame member and author of over a dozen books. E-mail or view