When you are not yet ready to take action, visualize yourself taking the action that you would really like to do. This way even though you are not in a frame of mind to actually take the specific action, you are mentally preparing yourself.
Your mental pictures will make it easier for you to take action. When you run pictures of yourself doing the things that you want to do, this mental rehearsal will shorten the amount of time it takes to build up your willingness to act.
Mentally picturing yourself taking action will help you overcome the resistance you are feeling. Anything we’ve successfully done in real life makes it more likely that we will take that action again. Anything that we’ve visualized doing is stored in our brain as if we actually took that action.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book: “Taking Action” – page 101
We all have experienced zrizus and moments of joyful willpower. That is, we did things swiftly and right away. There are many instances when we felt motivated to do something positive that we strongly wanted to do and felt good about actually doing them.
When you recall a moment of zrizus and joyful willpower, you can experience in the present how you felt then, and recall what actions this led you to do. See what you saw when you felt the feelings of zrizus and joyful willpower. Hear what you heard when you felt the feelings of zrizus and joyful willpower. Feel what you felt when you felt the feelings of zrizus and joyful willpower.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book: “Taking Action” – page 90
People who get things done make “to do” lists. Considering it important to take action on your “to do” list leads to taking care of things. When you create a “to do” list, label it “to do with joy.”
When you explicitly write that it is a “to do with joy” list, you are giving yourself a valuable message: You are telling your mind to remember to be joyful.
A person might feel rushed to do all the things on the “to do” list. A person might feel a little resentful or overwhelmed that he or she has so many things to do. But when you call your list a “to do with joy list,” you are preparing yourself to feel good while you do the things that you want to do.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book: “Taking Action” – page 72
Some people might take action, but with resentful zrizus. “I shouldn’t really have to do this,” they say to themselves. “Someone else should take care of this.”
There is a well-known idea expressed by the late Rabbi Chaim Friedlander: “If you are doing it anyway, you might as well do it with joy.”
This is so important and valuable that it’s worth repeating. “If you are doing it anyway, you might as well do it with joy.” We are constantly choosing our thoughts, our feelings, our words, and our actions. You can choose to feel distressed or joyful about taking care of the things that you need to take care of. When you take action with zrizus, choose joyful zrizus.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book: “Taking Action” – page 60
Some people become overwhelmed when they feel they have too many things to do and they don’t have enough time to do them. This overwhelmed feeling causes them to move more slowly than they usually do. Their minds becomes unclear. It’s hard for them to focus and concentrate. Instead of becoming more efficient at what they have to do, they act way below their standard competency level.
What is the solution? Serene zrizus!
What does it mean to have serene zrizus? It means that you take action, and you do so with full speed ahead while remaining calm and tranquil inside. You move as fast as is appropriate for the specific situation and circumstance. But you have peace of mind.
You might not have previously associated zrizus with serenity, but now you can. Your mindset acknowledges that you will do everything that you have to do and that you will have an inner calm. Although you might move quickly, inwardly you are at ease.
A key benefit of having serene zrizus is that you think clearly. You think about what you need to do, and you remain calm as you take action.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book: “Taking Action” – pages 55-6
Action will enable you to accomplish and achieve. But something must come before taking action: thinking.
Think first. Yes, think big and think bigger, but always think first.
Taking action without thinking will lead to many avoidable mistakes and errors. Taking action without thinking first will lead to unnecessary quarrels and arguments, hurt feelings, and misunderstandings.
Taking action without thinking will lead to wasting much time and energy.
Taking action without thinking might get you far, but it’s likely to get you far in the wrong direction.
When you spend time thinking about your options and about consequences, you will be able to learn from each experience to think even better and wiser next time.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book: “Taking Action” – pages 40-1
Create the habit of taking action right away. To make anything a habit, you keep doing something many times. The wise person doesn’t wait until a new habit becomes a habit. He acts the way he would act if he already had the habit. And then automatically his actions become a habit.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book: “Taking Action” – page 38
If you presently find it difficult to believe that you can become an action-oriented person, you will benefit greatly from a teacher, mentor, friend, or coach who believes in you and your abilities. Having someone you respect believe in you is inspiring and motivating. You will gain a stronger and deeper belief in yourself.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book: “Taking Action” – page 35
People who are lazy and habitually procrastinate lose out in all areas of their life. They ignore their health. They don’t take care of their financial obligations on time. They don’t study when they should study. They waste a lot of time. They tend to be late to things.
The antidote is to become a person who consistently takes action with joyful zrizus. You gain tremendously in all areas of your life when you make and reach goals, when you do what you say you will do, when you take care of things on time, and when others are counting on you. You gain spiritually and materially.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book: “Taking Action” – pages 30-1
Everything that you have ever done in the past, you did in a present moment. Everything that you will ever do in the future, you will only be able to do in a present moment.
All your thoughts are thought in a present moment. All your feelings are felt in a present moment. And everything you actually say or do is said or done in a present moment.
Since you live your whole life in the present, moment by moment, it is wise to consider the wise thing to say and do in the present moment, in the here and now of that moment. It is also wise to prepare the wise thing to say or do in the future.
Someone who tends not to have zrizus (alacrity) might be thinking about how challenging it is to have zrizus. It’s actually not difficult to have zrizus. Rather, it might appear difficult when you are not in a zrizus state, or when you are thinking about having future zrizus that you don’t now have. But all moments of zrizus are just present moments, and when you are in that present moment of zrizus, it isn’t difficult. Someone with a tendency to do things with zrizus will tend to look at zrizus as something he only needs to have one moment at a time.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin”s book: “Taking Action” – pages 26-7