The Thin Line Between Knowledge and Action

Have you ever wondered why, a lot of times, you just can’t seem to make progress in life despite the fact that you know so much about what it takes to succeed? There just seems to be a almost non-existing gap between what you know and what you actually do. Over the years, I have had to listen to stories from people who feel frustrated and unable to progress in life. Quite a few indicated that they have read a lot of different personal development and motivational materials over the years and acquired a wealth of knowledge in this way. But, for some reasons, they just couldn’t get past reading or listening to such materials to actually living the life they desire.

Often this was accompanied by a sense of frustration and the feeling that perhaps such things just don’t work, or at least not for them. That is usually how we get to feel when there is a gap between our knowledge and our actions. It is when you know what to do and how to do it, but you just can’t get to actually doing it. I have attended or listened to many seminars myself over the years. In many cases they were great seminars, giving really useful information. But I noticed that in all likelihood, most people attending the seminar would put the seminar materials on their shelves afterwards and pretty much not act on the information, even though at the time they received it they were excited about it. But somehow, as the days go by the routines of daily life get in the way and the initial zeal fizzle out.

At a coaching session, I came to realized what exactly that gap was. I found out that the missing ingredient is usually: Clarity Or rather I should say, it is a lack of clarity that keeps us stuck in a certain pattern. By lack of clarity I mean three basic things: - Your fears - Feeling Powerless - Lack of Focus Your Fears By far the biggest obstacle to taking action is your fears. These may be fears that you are aware of, but quite often it is fears that you may not even be consciously aware of. For example, like many people you might like to start a business and have a lot of business ideas in this regard, but maybe you find yourself unable to take the next step. Something holds you back. Until you recognize and deal with that issue you may find yourself stuck.

Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Let not one of you belittle himself.” (Sunan Ibn Majah). It is important to be clear on what your fears are. They are by far the biggest obstacle that you have to deal with in order to move ahead and succeed. You may know what your fears are, but may not be clear on the reason you feel that way. The answer usually lies in the origin of the fear. Mentoring, coaching and counseling can help you dig deeper and understand yourself better with respect to your fears. Feeling Powerless The second obstacle is Powerlessness. Powerlessness occurs when you are living in a state of low power. In this state you will find that you generally feel less energetic, blame yourself or others are judgmental of self and others and at times even angry.

The best way I would describe this state is the feeling of having a weight on your shoulder, or a feeling of heaviness in your heart, particularly when you think about your future and your plans. It can be such a drag and every step can take so much effort. Part of the answer to dropping this weight lies in learning to let go of the negative things in your life. Once you do, you are able to move ahead to a state of higher power. When you are in a state of higher power you let go of blame, judgment, anger and negativity. You drop that weight from off your shoulders or lose those bands that are constricting your heart and mind. Then you begin to feel refreshed and light. It becomes easier to move ahead without the clutter of negativity. In a state of higher power, wisdom and intuition are more accessible to you. The process of letting go of such judgments, blame and negativity need not be a lengthy or difficult one. It just needs to be focused and deliberate.

As Muslims we should never feel powerless in any circumstance. Almighty Allah has commanded us in Surah Al-Ar’-af, 7: 55 “"Call on your Lord humbly and secretly; surely He does not love those who exceed the limits."… If we can just do this, we can’t be powerless. Lack of Focus Once you have recognized and let go of your fears and are in a state of higher power, you need to add Focus in order to move from knowledge to action. By focus, I mean your vision in life. What is it that you want to do with your life? Part of the reason that knowledge you have is not being put to use may be that there is nothing for you to focus it on. There is nothing pulling you in a certain direction. So today if I tell you about investing in real estate you will be really excited about it, and tomorrow if I tell you about multilevel marketing you will be really excited about that too. The result is that you be pulled in many directions and end up remaining stationary despite your unfocused efforts.

Acting consistently and towards the right purpose is important. Work out your vision. Work out your purpose. Be clear on what you want in life. Among the best ways to develop focus is to practice praying with deep concentration to the extent that you are almost unaware of your surroundings. Once you become focused, it becomes easy to say no to things that will not add value to you. It becomes easier to say no to distractions and you will then know what knowledge you need to acquire and concentrate on in order to reach your destination. Being focused is one attribute a Muslim should have.

However focus must be geared towards positivity and creating benefits not only for yourself but for the people around you. Always remember that in the grand scheme of things, what matters is how we are able to transform our knowledge and intelligence into practical solutions for our nation and the Muslim ummah. We should never forget that “The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim” (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 218) and also "(It will be said in the Hereafter): O you disbelievers! Make no excuses this Day! You are being requited only for what you used to do." (Surat At-Tahrim 66:7).

Ma Salam. 

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