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Taking Action vs Waiting: Achieving Our Goals, Hopes, and Dreams

Man in Chair Mountains

by Luiz Correa
translated by Joel McDonald

At some point in our lives, we’re going to need to wait in expectation of something to happen or for someone to do something. We wait for many things. We wait, sometimes hungry or thirty, for the opportunity to eat or drink. We wait for the bus to take us to school or work. We wait for a class or meeting to begin. We wait for grades to be posted or for news of a promotion. We wait for a hoped-for an acceptance letter to a university that we’ve worked hard with the goal os attending. We wait to hear back about a job we’ve interviewed for. We wait for our life partner to become a part of our lives. Waiting is a part of life.

Waiting isn’t enough, however. There are times, many times, where we need to combine action with our waiting. When a young child is hungry, she cries out to be fed. When we need a taxi, we signal our need to have the driver stop so we can begin our trip. We cannot merely will ourselves into the university of our choice without having taken the necessary actions of studying and proving ourselves capable of the rigors of that university. It’s not enough to wait, and inaction can mean the continuance of hunger, never reaching our destination, or not achieving significant life goals. We must take action.

Even with all the proper preparation and action taken to try to meet our needs and achieve our goals, there is no guarantee that all we hope and wait for will come to fruition. There are times where things will not go our way regardless of how we’ve prepared. While this can be disheartening; imagine the frustration of those who do not prepare and do not take action and yet expect too much for the little they’ve done toward what they hope for.

“The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.” — Seneca

As the Roman stoic philosopher taught, waiting and worrying for the future is forgetting to live in the present. We can’t control the future, but we can take control of today, the present. The only influence over what happens in the future is what we do today. Doing nothing today to accomplish our goals is leaving the future in fate’s hands. Should we not be willing to prepare for the future, it’s futile to “strain” or be overly concerned about the future we’ve done nothing to prepare for.

Let’s take action in preparation for our future. Let’s become like the pulsating engines of a powerful car and accelerate our lives toward our hopes and dreams. When we have to wait for things to happen or for others to do something having an impact on our lives, let’s make that waiting more pleasant and hopeful with the knowledge of our having taken action, made the appropriate preparations, and done the necessary work. Then, the wait will have been worth it as we reap the fruit we’ve sown through our actions.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”Robert Louis Stevenson

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