My book, The Art of Taking Action, will be released on Amazon as an e-book (initially) by August 12, 2014. Many of us associate Eastern philosophy and religion with contemplative practices, such as meditation (zazen) or self-reflection (Naikan). We’ve borrowed from the contemplative Eastern tradition in order to integrate practices such as yoga, mindfulness or calligraphy into our lives. But there is also a foundation of Eastern wisdom directed towards ACTION. We tend to overlook these ideas because we may see our lives as already too active – too much to do and not enough time to do it. The action principles that come from the East are different from those in the West. They emphasize a value system grounded in principles such as non-attachment, purpose, gratitude, interdependence, and coexisting with fear. Such principles are prominent in martial arts (Aikido, Kyudo), psychology (Morita therapy, Kaizen) and even religion (engaged Buddhism). The Art of Taking Action isn’t simply about keeping busy or checking things off your to-do list. It’s about choosing what to do, how to do it, and the development of character.
This book represents more than twenty-five years of my studying and teaching Japanese Psychology, Buddhism and Eastern Philosophy. I’ve written extensively about Naikan, the self-reflective side of Japanese Psychology. This book represents my experience and ideas about Morita therapy, Kaizen, and other elements drawn from the East.
Here is a sample of some of the essays you will find in the book:
- How Do You Know What Action to Take?
- Taking Risks
- Resolutions and Inspiration
- Small Steps and the Law of Momentum
- The Turtles Are On the Move
- Likes and Dislikes
- Working with the Conditions We Encounter
- Swimming Upstream – Julie Guroff
- I Get To – Kate Manahan
- Not So Fast — Donella Meadows
- Overcoming by Going Around
- Non-attachment: Effort and Outcomes
- Keep Your Feet Moving
- Faith In Action — Sharon SalzbergDealing With Deadlines
- Finishing: Big Girls Don’t Tri — Margaret McKenzie and Jennifer Lamplough
- Obsessed with the Unfinished
There’s a separate section on “Starting” because often we put things off and the longer we put things off, the harder it is to get started. And I’ve included a section called “Defeating the Demons of Inaction” which discusses specific strategies for overcoming perfectionism, discouragement, fear, indecision, and more.
My father died recently at the age of 86. During his first 65 years he was one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. Like most of us, he didn’t always make conscious choices of where he put his energy. As I reflect on his life, I can see his legacy – a legacy that was shaped by what he did and how he did it. I’ve found myself reinspired to make the most of my time and to consider my own legacy and how that will be viewed by others after my death.
For the past five years, I’ve taught an online course called “Taking Action: Finishing the Unfinished (and Unstarted).” I’ve seen hundreds of people make amazing progress on projects ranging from learning a foreign language to writing a musical. I’ve seen people finish writing books and get licensed in their professional field. The ideas in my book are valuable, but, ultimately it comes down to personal effort. Reading a book without acting on the ideas is simply another way we procrastinate.
I hope this book helps you accomplish something meaningful and important to you and, at the same time, helps you develop self-discipline and character.
If you’d like to receive notification of when the book is available, send an email to the ToDo Institute office
You can also read some sample chapters on the Taking Action book website here:
Thank you and best wishes,