Do Something

By Scott Westerman
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“In any situation, the best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.” ~Theodore Roosevelt 

Our world pulsates with complainers who will never do anything to improve what they complain about. They embody Isaac Singer’s maxim that, “If you keep saying things are going to be bad, you have a chance of being a prophet.”

These are the people you hide from your Facebook timeline. They haunt the feedback sections of newspaper websites and thrive in the anonymity of unmoderated comment sections. They berate teachers but could never survive in the front of a classroom. They attack politicians and would never run for office. They whine about everything from their unfulfilling careers to their weight. But they never do anything to meaningfully improve their situation.

“We are what we repeatedly do.” Aristotle wrote. “Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” So is inaction.

Do something.

We often give up at the first sign of an obstacle. “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds,” Albert Einstein said.

Be a great spirit. Do something.

According to the philosopher, Goethe, it is action that defines us. “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

Define yourself. Do something.

Great movements begin with small steps. To paraphrase Ghandi, “Whatever steps you take may feel insignificant, but it is very important that you take them.”

Take small steps in the direction of big dreams. Do something.

What stops us from doing things? The fear of failure. History teaches us again and again that mistakes are the stepping stones to greatness. “Failure,” said author Truman Capote, “is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”

Do something. Fail and do something else.

Persevere. The great engineer and inventor Charles F. Kettering talked about how Important perseverance can be:  “Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.”

Victory favors the determined. Get off the bench and into the game. Do something.

Life is not a spectator sport. We will only know it’s richness if we live it to it’s fullest. “Twenty years from now,” Mark Twain concludes, “you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

When I finish my last lap on this earthly experience, I expect to use my last ounce of energy to slide across the finish line, totally spent; my smartphone in one hand and a glass of Malbec in the other. None of us will get out of this adventure alive, so we might as well make the most of every minute we have.

Do something!