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The world is full of action takers. We are a species that need to continuously improve to survive and to advance our lives for the better. All action leads to progress… or does it? How does one gauge whether their actions are actually making them progress? In this blog we are doing to discuss the difference between action taking and action faking, describe the symptoms of each and provide a solution on how to overcome action faking.

Definition of faking vs taking

There is a subtle difference between action faking and action taking. This phenomenon is tricky to maneuver as action faking makes it feel like we are actually progressing, when in fact we are still in the same position. The difference between action faking and action making is that action faking does not produce any real tangible results. This difference may sound trivial, however consider the following example:

Jim wants to build muscle and lose body fat, so he buys a gym membership and even hires a personal trainer. Jim spends a lot of time talking to his personal trainer and only buys the highest rated supplements online. He even buys some leather gloves because it is supposed to prevent calluses. He boasts to his friends that “Jim has a gym membership”.

All of Jim’s actions are action faking. Action faking can be a good thing – it prepares you for what lies ahead and what to expect. The only time Jim executes action taking is when he physically starts to exercise – this is where true results appear.

Symptoms of each action

There are symptoms which can be used to determine if one’s actions are “faking” or “taking”:

Symptoms of action faking

  • No real results (no new profits, no new customers, no new records)
  • Suffering from the shiny object syndrome – continuously changing the plan and looking for the best strategy without implementing any strategy
  • Believing that your idea is faultless (no idea is faultless)
  • A lot of imagination and very little action
  • Spending money without seeing any results

Symptoms of action making

  • Seeing and experiencing results
  • Failing over and over (actually doing something leads to failure – you are actually trying something)
  • Growing new networks and learning by doing
  • Understanding that there is no “free lunch” – there are no great achievements that can be accomplished without hard work
  • It is not as easy as it seems.

If we return to Jim’s example, a gym membership and personal trainer cost money. There was a fixation on the idea of being aesthetically fit even though no exercise was done – this is “action faking”. Jim eventually decides to exercise and realizes it is physically difficult. He now understands that the rewards are only attained by hard work and he is learning a lot by actually doing the movements – this is “action taking”.

How to resolve action faking

I suffered from action faking or a long time (three years). My intention to start a proprietary trading company began in 2017. For a full two years I believed I was making progress by watching interviews, attending training courses and gathering information. In that time, I did not make a single proprietary trade. Those actions account for 10% of the knowledge I use now. Since actually proprietary trading in 2020, there was been an entire re-education.

Here is the best way to avoid action faking: learning to play soccer cannot be done by reading a book – go outside and kick a ball. As Scott Young (author of Ultralearning) explains: “The hard way is the easy way.” Success can be achieved by doing the real thing and to avoid any fake alternatives. In my experience, I found that starting small is a great way to habitualize real actions and helps to set up real tangible momentum.

Closing thoughts

There is a subtle difference between action faking and action taking. Spend some time and analyze your actions to determine if your actions are actually making you progress. A glance of the symptoms of both action faking and action taking will give you an idea on whether you are actually progressing or not. Understand that there is no shortcut for success. Aim to make small steps in your endeavours, as each step builds confidence in your abilities to progress further.

About the author

Trishen Naidoo is the director of Pneuma Capital and co-director of Fulcrum Venture Capital (FVC). FVC have enlisted the services of Nikshen Consulting for business coaching and guidance.

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Dr Kenneth Moodley

Author Dr Kenneth Moodley

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