Productivity and GTD
Thinking, feeling and doing
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." ~ Lao-tzu
In my life I have known a few people that have amazed me due to their intelligence, knowledge or skills… and also due to doing absolutely nothing with all these virtues. Surely you know someone like them as well. I’ve always wondered what was wrong. It seems to be a problem of intentionality, or rather, lack of intentionality. But first things first.
According to modern psychology, our mind is made up of three components:
- The cognition, that has to do with intelligence and the ability to think. It’s associated with the question what.
- The affection, that has to do with the ability to feel, and is related to the question how.
- The conation, that has to do with the will and abitily to do. It is often associated with the question why.
The latter is, so to speak, the proactive part of our mind. In its most basic definition, it’s the natural inclination to continue existing and improving. Although we have been trained to manage the first two components, we often receive no help to develop the third, which connects our thoughts and feelings with our behavior.
So much so that the term conation is in The 1,000 Most Obscure Words in the English Language. In Spanish, it seems that not even exists. Although Google translates it as conación and I’ve found this word in some documents, it seems that the only similar word accepted by the Real Academia Española is conato, in its meaning “commitment and effort in carrying something out”.
Chuck Blakeman mentions this term both in his book Making money is killing your business (which, by the way, I recommend to anyone wanting to start a new business or to grow and mature an existing one) and in his blog. He defines it as a committed movement in a purposeful direction. It is, therefore, the key to success in whatever you undertake. So you need to educate the conative part of your mind to achieve what you really want, by repeating again and again these three steps:
- Clearly define what your goal is.
- Visualize the result and plan how to get there. You need to feel it’s possible.
- Take action, despite the risks that may exist.
Clear thinking is not enough, you also need intentionality. Without it neither you can do what you really want nor can achieve the goals you’ve set. Thinking prepares you to act, but doesn’t change you. The act of doing is what changes you.
Have you ever thought what your ideal lifestyle looks like? If not, now it’s the time. If you clearly have done it, just move.