Thought and theory must precede all salutary action,
yet action is nobler in itself than either thought or theory.
--- William Wordsworth
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was living in Weimar in 1806 with his girlfriend, Christiane, and their son. Napoleon’s army invaded the town and occupied their home, bursting into their bedroom with bayonets drawn.
While the German philosopher stood petrified, Christiane took charge of the situation. She barricaded the kitchen and cellar and quarreled with the marauding soldiers until they retreated. The next day, Goethe married Christiane.
While thinking can help you crystallize your deepest values and life vision, so can acting.
Without action, your thoughts can go on tangents that distance you further and further from reality. Being in the line of fire with Christiane and observing her courage provided Goethe with the wake-up call he needed to clarify his feelings toward her.
While your mind generates thoughts about what you want to do with your life, your actions generate feelings.
To confirm whether you want to become a singer, dancer, or podiatrist, you have to do more than study those vocations. You have to belt out a few tunes, get jiggy with some new moves, or put your hands around a few feet and experience how it makes you feel.
Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).