We’ve all heard the old saw: Actions speak louder than words.
So why is it that positive action is something so many people have trouble taking?
As I go about my purpose educating, training and leading my tribe, I find the actions some of them would benefit from have for too long been “missing in action.”
Enter my associate and colleague Dr. Dragos Bratasanu, a modern media star who hails from Romania. He recently told a tale relevant to this topic of something he picked up on his travels:
“A while ago I journeyed to Nepal to trek the Himalayas, and to learn a bit more about myself and about the world from Buddhist spiritual teachers. I walked through the gates of a modern Buddhist monastery, and soon met the leader, or abbot, of this sacred space.
“The abbot was a wonderful man in his fifties, with a most obvious trait: he was always laughing and smiling. He told me that when he was 5 years old, he ran away from his home in Tibet to escape the Chinese oppression. He had to leave his family behind and fled across the mountains with a group of strangers. He took refuge in a Buddhist monastery in Kathmandu and became a monk.
“In spite of all the hardships he’d lived through, he was now very happy and peaceful. We sat down in a classroom and he shared a bit from the Buddhist tradition and their spiritual teachings. Every sentence he spoke was filled with big smiles.
“What’s the secret to your happiness? I finally asked. “How do you stay so peaceful and joyful all the time?
“He realized that I was hoping for some sort of ancient spiritual wisdom, which made him laugh even louder. Then he answered bluntly with a delicious laughter: ‘I meditate.’
“‘Look’ he continued a bit more seriously, ‘In the modern world, you’ve got everything you need to have a happy life. You are free. You have access to an abundance of information online, you have bookstores and libraries to learn anything you want, and you can afford to buy everything you need. I had some visitors here who showed me that you even have apps for meditation. I don’t know what those are. I just sit down and meditate.’”
As Dr. Dragos continued, I realized that what he offered next carried a life-changing message for people in the self-help community:
“The abbot said, ‘You know what the problem really is? You fill your head with so much information but you hardly put it into practice. You rarely act on it. You study meditation, you learn the techniques, you take the courses, you read the books, you go to classes… but you don’t do it. It’s that simple.’
“‘You read great works about happiness and about how important truthful relationships are in your life. You nod seriously in agreement with your head trapped between the pages—yet you are surprised by the simplicity of these teachings. Then you walk outside and do the exact opposite.’
“‘You tell your friends to follow their dreams but you don’t really do it yourself. You discuss philosophy about what you read, but you never really live the wisdom. This contradiction between what you know and what you do is driving you nuts.’
“This time we both laughed loudly. ‘Now DO it’ he said, ‘and BE happy.’”
I trust you recognize this message as a huge wake-up call. It reminds me of something one of my early teachers, a very dashing, rich and famous motivational speaker named Marshall Silver once told me: “It’s time to put away your studies, and do what you have been studying.”
Indeed. In every life there comes a time when truer words cannot be spoken.