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Inspiring Us to Just Do It!

Before Nike's slogan, Guideposts' founder had a great message not just for New Year but for every day of the year.

By Norman Vincent Peale

As appeared in

I’m convinced this upcoming year will be a great one for you if you’ll make one simple New Year’s resolution and stick to it in every one of the 365 days this year has to offer. That resolution consists of just two short words.

Each has only two letters. But they’re packed with power. They can generate enormous energy. They can sweep away discouragement and failure. They can make it possible for a person to accomplish just about any worthwhile goal. And what are those two dynamic words? Do it!

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Have you got a promising idea? Do it! Do you have a cherished dream? Do it! Do you have a hidden ambition? Do it! Have you some great impulse, some burning desire? Do it!

I’m not just urging action for action’s sake, although action is almost always better than inaction. No, the reason goes much deeper than that.

The reason is that God has a plan for this world of ours, and he’s arranged things so that he requires our help in carrying it out. We are the instruments he has chosen to keep civilization moving toward the goal of a loving and peaceful world. He needs us, just as we need him.

The great psychiatrist Karl Menninger once said he thought the central purpose of each individual’s life should be “to dilute the misery in the world.” Every day each of us is offered opportunities to do just this, sometimes in large ways, sometimes in small.

But often we let inertia or fear or selfishness stop us. We fail to do it.

What we don’t realize, very often, is that if we’ll just take the first step in the right direction, God will support us in the rest of the journey. There’s an old proverb that acknowledges this basic truth: “Begin the thing and ye shall have the power. But those who do not begin have not the power.”

Suppose someone invites you to join a Bible study. Something in you would like to accept, but you find yourself groping for excuses. The time is inconvenient. The teacher might expect too much effort. And so on.

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Well, if this invitation comes this year, sweep those objections aside. Tell yourself that Bible study will make you a stronger, wiser person, better fitted to carry out your share of God’s plan. Do it!

Take a few moments every morning and look closely at your life. Is there a frayed relationship that would be helped by a friendly gesture or a word of apology from you? Do it! Is there some deserving charity that could use a contribution, however small? Do it!

Is there some little action—a note to a bereaved person, a visit to a hospital patient—that would help to “dilute the misery in the world”? Don’t just contemplate it. Do it!

Have you ever noticed how many of the majestic healing utterances of Jesus begin with a verb of action? “Go and wash...” “Stretch forth thy hand...” “Take up thy bed...” Jesus knew taking action liberates further energies and is a great builder of confidence.

I believe if there are areas in your life where you put off needed action, these unfulfilled tasks can become a fatigue factor. They are like tiny leaks in your reservoirs of energy.

What holds you back when you flinch from some worthwhile endeavor? Often it’s fear. Insecurity. Lack of faith in your God-given abilities. I can speak with some conviction in this regard because, for years, as a youngster in Ohio and later as a college student, I let an inferiority complex paralyze me.

If I was called upon in class, I’d flounder around even though I knew the answer. It wasn’t until I realized that the fault was mine, not God’s (he doesn’t create inadequate people), and asked him to help me, that I began to get over it.

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I’m convinced that when you decide to do something because you think it may advance God’s plan for the world, your chances of failure shrink almost to zero.

Here at Guideposts we have a descriptive sign at our headquarters that reads “People Helping People.” That is the purpose of Guideposts, and all the success we have had stems from it.

I had an idea for a book that I thought might help people, but a well-known expert in the field told me my approach was all wrong. I listened to him for a while, but finally I sat down with a pad and pencil and began to outline a series of chapters.

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