Life Design: Are You Spinning Your Wheels? 

Life Design: Are You Spinning Your Wheels? 

Before I learned about Life Design and before I got serious about applying the science of happiness in my own life.

I used to wear busy like a badge of honor.

          “How are you?” my mom would ask.

          “I’m so busy! I’m working a ton, and I have to blah blah blah.”

I was on my way to burnout.

That was in the Before.

Now, I reframe problems, how I spend my time, and how I approach life. I am mindful of expectations and pressures and whether they are ones I want to adhere to or not. I am more intentional about and braver with my choices. That said, I am not perfect.

I am a human with a human mind, and I fall prey to its traps still. An eye-opening concept I recently encountered is action v. motion. As much as I like to tell myself that I spend my time in ways that really matter, that I’ve made big changes since those brink-of-burn-out days, I have a lot of work yet to do. I find myself slipping into motion more often than I ‘d like to admit. Perhaps you do, too.

Motion v. Action

  • Motion is running on the treadmill while action is running to a place you want to go.
  • Motion is brainstorming ideas for all the blog posts and videos you want to create, while action is actually writing or filming one.
  • Motion is researching new jobs online while action is applying for one and advancing your career path.
  • Motion is planning out that tough conversation you need to have while action is having it.
  • Motion is worrying about everything that could go wrong while action is finding a solution for an actual problem and letting go of the things out of your control.

Motion is busy work, whereas action leads to an outcome. Part of your life will be spent on both. Motion takes up a lot of time and energy. It gives us a sense that we are being productive, that we are doing something or making progress, but it’s really just spinning our wheels because motion will not produce a real result. Moreover, it’s a subtle avoidance tactic. It may allow us to avoid saying no or making tough choices about what really matters. It may allow us to avoid confronting uncomfortable thoughts or feelings or being honest with ourselves. Motion allows us to avoid doing the really hard work, taking chances, failing, and, ironically, succeeding.

Action, on the other hand, leads to a real, tangible result or change. While the outcomes may not always be positive or ideal, they’re likely to be useful. Even full-on failures offer valuable lessons that we can use to grow. Through action and the resulting experience, we learn what works and what doesn’t, whether that’s in business, relationships, hobbies, or happiness.

I can’t help but believe that dedicating more time and energy to values-driven and effective action while wasting a little less on motion is going to make a noticeable difference in my life experience. What about yours?

Ready to make a change?

If you’re interested in getting off the proverbial hamster wheel and learning about Life Design, you may be interested in our ASCEND program. There’s an entire module dedicated to Life Design. You’ll learn the principles and process that have been so transformative for us. 

“Never confuse motion with action.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Related Posts

Build psychological strength right from your inbox!

  Get actionable tools and techniques for building psychological strength at home and at work. Sign up to get them delivered right to your inbox.